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Shortman and Thorpe brimming with confidence ahead of Olympic qualification

Artistic swimmers Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe are striving to better their impressive European Championships performances as they set their sights on qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this weekend.

The duet have had to wait more than a year for the opportunity but are among 25 pairs in Barcelona battling for the right to win one of the final eight spots available in Japan.

Shortman and Thorpe head into the event brimming with confidence after their displays in Budapest where they set personal bests in both the free and technical routines – finishing seventh in both finals.

The teenagers are in action in the duet free preliminary on Saturday morning, with the duet technical in the afternoon.

Scores are then added and the top 12 swim the free routine again on Sunday with a trip to the Olympics the prize on offer for the first eight.

Karen Thorpe, Swim England Artistic Swimming Manager, said it promised to be an extremely competitive event.

She added: “Everyone has stepped up and looks really strong – it’s going to be an absolute battle for both the remaining team and duet places.

Buoyant mood

“The tension is in the air and no-one is taking anything for granted.

“It’s clear that a lot of teams have spent a lot of time training to be at the top of their game and the competition is fierce.

“However, Kate and Izzy are in a buoyant mood after their displays in the European Championships and I know they’ll  give it their all.

“They have waited so long for this opportunity and they are excited and looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

Eleven countries – Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Spain, Canada, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Egypt, South Africa and Australia – have already booked their tickets to the duet competition in Tokyo.

A total of 22 teams will compete in the artistic swimming duet competition at the Games between Monday 2 August and Wednesday 4 August.

The remaining 11 spots up for grabs will be won by eight duets competing in Barcelona, with three teams also guaranteed a place in the duet free and technical contest.

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