Swim England Artistic Swimming

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History-makers Shortman and Thorpe hope world silver inspires next generation

History-makers Kate Shortman and Izzy Thorpe hope Great Britain’s first-ever artistic swimming duet medal at a World Championships will inspire the next generation and ensure a ‘bright future’ for the sport in the UK.

Less than 48 hours after finishing second in the technical duet final in Doha, Shortman and Thorpe will be back in the pool for the duet free preliminaries from 6.30am UK time on Wednesday 7 February.

They will go into the event brimming with confidence following their podium success on Monday 5 February as their Big Ben-inspired routine saw them scored 259.6 to claim a stunning silver behind gold medallists China.

The 22-year-old duo are competing in their fifth World Championships and are bidding to earn a Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualification spot.

Both scores from the technical duet and free duet competitions are combined to work out who will be heading to the French capital later this year.

In the meantime, Thorpe hoped their success would encourage youngsters to give artistic swimming a try.

She said: “It means so much, I can’t even put it into words.

“I just hope it’s inspiring some young girls and boys back at home, we can lead the way for some of them and that there’s a bright future for artistic swimming in the UK.

‘Encouraging more to get involved’

“It was about trying to be confident and calm at the same time. Obviously it was very exciting when we came third in the prelim but it’s about trying to keep those nerves down.

“We just knew we had to do exactly the same swim, a normal swim for us. We train everyday, we are swimming at a World Champs so we just tried to replicate that here and I feel it went really well.”

A delighted Shortman also hoped more people would take up the sport following their significant success.

She said: “We are just really happy.

“The confidence that this will give us will translate into the Free Duet. To get a silver medal at World Champs, in Olympic year, is crazy. Any World Championships, let alone an Olympic year World Champs.

“I don’t think it’ll sink in for a couple of days. I think I just need to take a bit of a rest now – we need to reset ahead of that free because we’ve got big plans for that as well, so we don’t want to let this affect that either way.

“Hopefully we can get a bit more publicity for the sport now and we can encourage people to get involved, everything that comes with it.”

If you’re inspired to get involved in artistic swimming, you can find your nearest club at discover.swimming.org.

The next generation of artistic swimmers will be in action at the GoCardless Swim England National Age Group Championships at the K2 Crawley on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 March.

It is one of four artistic swimming national events staged by Swim England in 2024. To find out more, please click here.