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Great Britain duet reach final at LEN European Synchro Cup

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Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe produced the second best performance of their careers to reach the Free Duet final at the LEN European Synchronised Swimming Champions Cup in St Petersburg.

Great Britain’s senior duet had set a personal best score of 84.1667 in Japan last month and went close to that mark again, finishing seventh in the preliminary round with 83.7000 points.

Karen Thorpe, manager of artistic swimming for Swim England and British Swimming, said: “Although the scores didn’t reflect it, the swim was actually better than their performance in Tokyo.”

Shortman and Thorpe were again provided a chance to test themselves against some of the world’s best duets, with five-time defending Olympic champions Russia heading to the final in top spot with 96.8000 points.

The pair return for the Technical Duet final on Saturday, before joining their team-mates for the Free Combination final later in the day.

Though the competition has been labelled as ‘exceptionally high’, there is a chance to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with one team place and two duet spots up for grabs in Russia.

Valuable test for British team

In an elite field of seven teams for the Technical Team final, Great Britain finished seventh with a total of 77.7891 points.

The team of Daniella Lloyd, Ilaria Brandimarte, Victoria Usher, Cerys Larsen, Greta Hampson, Millicent Costello, Isobel Blinkhorn and Laura Turberville scored 23.3000 for execution, 23.1000 for impression and 31.3891 for their elements.

Russia cruised to the gold medal, scoring 95.2961 points, more than five points clear of second-placed Spain.

“The team swam well. We knew it would be a tough competition,” Karen Thorpe said.

“We have a young team and two athletes that swam for the first time on the senior stage, so we are pleased with our performance and looking forward to moving forward from here.

“We have the combo on Saturday, which is our strongest team event, so we hope to have a good swim and see the branch mark higher for the team.”

The team will hope to challenge for a place on the podium in Saturday’s Free Combination final, having won silver in the event at the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Paris.

For full results from the LEN European Cup, click here.