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British duet squad look back on 2015

The British synchronised swimming Duet squad training for qualification to the 2016 Olympics, which includes 2015 World Championship swimmers Jodie Cowie and Genevieve Randall as well as London 2012 Olympians Katie Clark and Olivia Federici, recently showcased their Technical and Free routines at the ASA National Age Group Synchronised Swimming Championships.

We caught up with Jodie, Genevieve, Katie and Olivia at the event to chat about their training so far:

What are dynamics like within the British synchronised swimming duet squad?

Olivia: It’s really interesting because Katie and I swam with Genevieve and Jodie in our last year so we know them really well but that was in a team environment. Now we’re a lot closer and it has been nice to work with new people and push ourselves to the next level.

Jodie: I think it’s really great. Obviously, [Katie and Olivia] both went to London 2012 and they have brought a lot of experience to the squad. They’re at a really high level so it pushes me and Genevieve to work harder. There’s a lot of positivity within the team and we are all working hard to be the best and get the most out of our training.

The squad has involved rotating Duet partners. What has that been like?

Katie: It’s been good to get to know each person individually and get to know how they swim and trying out different places in the Duet. Obviously you have different parts for each part of the Duet and we’ve all had to learn each part and swim different parts together which has been really interesting and a bit different which is good.

Genevieve: It’s been a challenge but it’s been a great change. Learning how to adapt to swimming with other people has taught me a lot. Also, swimming with Olive who was in the previous Duet has been great. She maybe travels more in one element than I do and that pushes me a little bit more which I wouldn’t know how to do if I wasn’t swimming with her. Working with different Duet partners have definitely taught me a lot of new things.

What has Andrea Fuentes’s influence been like on the squad?

Olivia: Andrea has had a major influence on the team. As an ex-athlete and multiple Olympic medallist, she’s very inspiring to all of us. Watching her swim was always very special so to be able to be coached by her and gain all that extra knowledge from her, we all feel very privileged.

Katie: I’ve taken away a lot of things from training with Andrea. I think we all have. In particular, I would say trying to be in the present moment while you’re swimming. So thinking about your corrections and your counts rather than thinking about how hard the Duet is.

Jodie: Andrea has taught me a lot about keeping in mind the Olympic dream. She always says that her dream is to help other people achieve the Olympic dream and I think that really motivates me when we go Mallorca to train with her. I always take in everything she says, even when it might take me out of my comfort zone.

What’s it like being coached by a former teammate?

Olivia: It’s really good. I love having Katie [Chapman, nee Dawkins] as a coach. We’re lucky because she only retired in 2012 and that means she still has a good understanding of being an athlete.  I think that comes across well in the way she coaches.

Katie: It’s good fun but it’s also very challenging at the same time. It’s definitely a bit different having your ex-teammate coaching you but she is very supportive of us as a team and she knows we’re going through a big change at the moment.

Did competing at World Champs this year boost your confidence going into the qualifiers?

Genevieve: Yeah, it was a great for me and Jodie to get to experience competing on a World stage ahead of 2016. Competing against so many countries was amazing and we learned lots from watching others perform. It has definitely given us confidence to go out to Rio and do our best.