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Reading Royals routine gets more than one million views on YouTube

Reading Royals’ Free Team routine performed at the 2019 Swim England National Synchronised Swimming Championships has received more than one million views on YouTube.

At the event that saw them claim the prestigious Redwood trophy for the first time in almost 20 years, they sealed the win with what they label as their ‘best swim’.

The video of the mermaid-themed performance has been viewed around the world and the squad say they are proud that their routine has had such an impact on the artistic swimming community.

The last time the club had their hands on the Redwood trophy was when their now coach and choreographer of the 2019 routine, Kelly-Anne Russell, was swimming.

On surpassing one million YouTube views, Kelly-Anne said: “It made me really proud of the routine.

“To see that so many people have been watching it, it’s brilliant.

“A lot of the time you see routines get posted on YouTube and they get a few hits but to get over a million, it’s just brilliant.”

The Reading coach said her swimmers had been keeping an eye on the viewing figures as it neared one million.

After she told the team she said: “They all knew because they’ve been following it and watching to see.

“As soon as I said they were like ‘yeah we know’ because they’ve got all their different group chats and apparently they’ve been following it together.”

One swimmer who was part of the gold medal winning squad, Cerys Larsen, said: “When the video hit one million views, we were shocked.

“However, the routine is exciting to watch and Kelly-Anne’s choreography is entertaining and dynamic so we are pleased this could reach so many people.

“It’s exciting for artistic swimming to get this recognition online, especially in our country, as we work to improve on both national and international levels.

“We are so pleased that we have been able to share this routine with so many people as it’s special to us and to everyone involved.”

The routine

Kelly-Anne admits she enjoyed choreographing the Free Team routine and explains the thoughts behind some of the elements.

“With a free routine it gives you a bit more freedom to be a bit more creative.

“It’s a process of listening to the music over and over again so you get the beat, you can count it and you start to visualise where different highlights will fit in the routine.

“Then you think about how you want to start it and it builds from there.

“The idea of the start was that you had one girl in the water that was trying to look almost like a mermaid and then the other girls on the side.

“The formation of their arms was supposed to look like a wave so that was the thinking behind it, to try and make it look creative. Then once they got in the water they went straight into some highlights.

“The first two highlights were obviously the two girls being flipped out of the water to look like a fish or mermaid and then you had the main lift that all of them took part in to get even higher.

“A lot of strength and conditioning training and speed swimming is done so that they’ve got the fitness and the strength to pull off a lot of the moves.

“During highlights the girls do have to have a lot of strength because obviously they never touch the bottom of the pool, so it’s all treading water and using physical body strength to push a swimmer or swimmers out of the water.”

Artistic swimming community

Seeing comments from artistic swimmers around the world gave the athletes a special feeling as they expressed their hope to inspire others.

Isobel Blinkhorn, who partnered with Cerys Larsen to win the Free Duet at the same competition, said: “It means a lot to have had such an impact on the artistic swimming community, especially people from other countries.

“Some of the comments were from Russians, saying how it was really good, which is an amazing feeling because Russia is one of the top artistic swimming countries in the world.”

Reading’s Izzy Turrell added: “The fact that other swimmers watch our routines is very special as they can appreciate the hard work that goes into making the routine work and being fit enough to swim it.

“I would take it as a massive compliment for others to be inspired by this routine and our performance which is the ultimate goal.”

If you’ve been inspired and want to get involved in artistic swimming, click here.