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Holland wins sixth straight Free Solo title at Synchro National Masters Champs

Andrea Holland won her sixth consecutive Free Solo title at the Swim England Synchronised Swimming National Masters Championships, claiming gold in the 60-69 age group.

Holland, who won duet gold alongside Carolyn Macdonald at the World Masters Championships in August, swam to a stirring track from The Phantom of the Opera.

The Rushmoor swimmer was rewarded for her improvements since competing at regional level last month, scoring 61.4333 points to top the podium.

Holland’s duet team-mate Macdonald was close behind in second, with a total of 58.5333 as the pair continue to celebrate their success together.

Holland said: “I love swimming that solo. I love it because I can tell a story. I want people to feel like they’re at the theatre when they’re watching my solo.

“I was really pleased with my score. I was happy with the swim and the reaction from everyone watching it as well.

“We used to compete against each other 40 years ago and we are always competitive against each other, but we’re great as a duet as well.

“The competitiveness goes to one side and it’s all about the duet.

“I always hope she does well and I’m sure she hopes that I do well. It’s a friendly rivalry.”

Brighton Dolphin’s Margaret Hamerton won bronze with 52.8667 points.

Escher hits the right note

Aquavision North London’s Giulia Escher had the highest score of the event across all age groups, winning the 25-29 Years title with an impressive 65.1333 points.

Escher’s performance was also inspired by opera as she swam to a dramatic Maria Callas song.

“I think the best thing that people liked was the music. I love opera, so it was really fun to swim with it,” she said.

“It feels so different when you swim with the music and the raw relationship with the music, it’s what we do it for.

“I’m really happy with the score. I didn’t expect it, so I’m very satisfied.”

French swimmer Celia Truchi won silver, while Kingston Ladies’ Rachael Stevens took home bronze.

Hat-trick for Rushmoor

Holland’s title was the first of three for Rushmoor Synchronised Swimming Club in the Free Solo.

World Championship swimmer Angela Boitsidis cruised to victory in the 50-59 age group, taking gold with 60.7333 points.

Carla Sanders then pipped her team-mate Rachel Davies to victory in the 40-49 age group, winning by just over half a point.

Seymour strike gold

Meanwhile, Seymour Synchro Swim School got their medal tally off to a strong start.

Christina Maciejewski won the competitive 18-24 age group title, while Elizabeth Winter was the only swimmer to break the 60-point barrier in the 30-39 age group.

Rossella Palma also added a bronze for Seymour.

Ageless Ansley

A free-spirited Jeanne Ansley swam to gold in the 70-79 age group.

At the age of 75, Ansley was the oldest competitor at the Championships, but her passion for the sport was clear to see.

“I’m lucky. Very lucky, but I work hard at it,” she said. “I’m such a show off. I love to put on a show.

“I’ve made so many friends around the world, so I can go anywhere around the world.”

Free Solo results

70-79 Years

  • 1 – Jeanne Ansley (City of Leeds Synchronised Swimming Club) 51.4333

60-69 Years

  • 1 – Andrea Holland (Rushmoor Synchro SC) 61.4333
  • 2 – Carolyn Macdonald (Rushmoor Synchro SC) 58.5333
  • 3 – Margaret Hamerton (Brighton Dolphin SC) 52.8667

50-59 Years

  • 1 – Angela Boitsidis (Rushmoor Synchro SC) 60.7333
  • 2 – Sarah Anderson (Colchester Oysters) 55.8000
  • 3 – Jayne Jarvis (Aqualina Synchro Club) 55.3333

40-49 Years

  • 1 – Carla Sanders (Rushmoor Synchro SC) 61.7333
  • 2 – Rachel Davies (Rushmoor Synchro SC) 61.0333
  • 3 – Lisa Keeping (Witney and District SC) 59.4333
  • 4 – Maria Cozzo (Seymour Synchro Swim School) 58.6667
  • 5 – Alina White (Aqualina Synchro Club) 57.5333
  • 6 – Nicolette Watson (Seymour Synchro Swim School) 46.0000

30-39 Years

  • 1 – Elizabeth Winter (Seymour Synchro Swim School) 61.7667
  • 2 – Mary Lowe (Aqualina Synchro Club) 57.3667
  • 3 – Rossella Palma (Seymour Synchro Swim School) 57.3000
  • 4 – Olivia Shelton (Green Arrows SSC) 56.8333

25-29 Years

  • 1 – Giulia Escher (Aquavision North London Swim Club) 65.1333
  • 2 – Celia Truchi (Olympic Nice Natation) 62.6000
  • 3 – Rachael Stevens (Kingston Ladies SC) 58.1000
  • 4 – Chloe Fletcher (Kingston Ladies SC) 56.8333

18-24 Years

  • 1 – Christina Maciejewski (Seymour Synchro Swim School) 63.1000
  • 2 – Kerri Brennan (Aqualina Synchro Club) 60.0333
  • 3 – Emma Goudge (Rushmoor Synchro SC) 59.8000
  • 4 – Zoe Parnham (Aqualina Synchro Club) 57.0667
  • 5 –  Ellen Currie (Aqualina Synchro Club) 56.5000
  • 6 – Sophie Mccarthy (Rushmoor Synchro SC) 55.6333

Photos:Will Johnston Photography