Strong talent squad helping to ‘raise game‘ of Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe

Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe are having to ‘up their game’ after helping to raise standards of the Swim England artistic swimming squad.

A ‘really strong bunch’ of 20 youngsters have been included on the Swim England Artistic Swimming Talent Programme following recent trials.

They will attend a number of training days at a mixture of camps and weekends alongside Shortman and Thorpe as well as competing at internationals over the next year.

Shortman and Thorpe will be hoping that will be on the biggest stage of all as the duet ramp up their training in an attempt to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

They also have the European Championships in Budapest, Hungary, next May in their sights.

The main target for the younger members of the team will be the European Junior Artistic (Synchronised) Swimming Championships in Malta in June.

Karen Thorpe, Swim England Synchro Manager, believes the excellent performances from Shortman and Thorpe throughout 2019 have been a ‘huge influence’ on the younger members in the squad.

She said that’s inspiring them to achieve the same standards as the Olympic hopefuls – ensuring Shortman and Thorpe keep performing to their highest level themselves.

Karen said: “We have selected 20 girls, plus the duet so we have 22 in total.

“There’s a really strong bunch of about 15 girls that will compete as our seniors plus some additional juniors. There are also some athletes in the squad to help them develop.

Long-term goal

“They will train with us all year and learn from all the experiences that we give them, such as choreography camps where they are going to be learning at really fast speed to get all the moves correct.

“Kate and Izzy have had a massive influence on the younger girls and those coming up through the squad. The squad is stronger now and really pushing the senior girls.

“The juniors are looking at Kate and Izzy and are thinking ‘wow, I want to be like that’. Because of that, we are seeing them progress at a much faster rate.

“Kate and Izzy don’t really recognise the impact they are having on the junior girls but I see it, the coaches see it and it’s really helping the whole programme move forward.

“They are also having to up their game as they don’t want the juniors to beat them.”

Karen added that the long-term goal  was to see a British artistic swimming team and duet qualify for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games.

She said: “For us, qualification is such a big deal.

“We have really passionate people in the sport and I think we can achieve really great things.

“Our aim is to qualify a team for the 2024 Olympics. Everyone has bought into our four-year plan and we are really committed to achieving that goal.”

Swim England Artistic Swimming Talent Programme squad

  • Kate Shortman (City of Bristol)
  • Isabelle Thorpe (City of Bristol)
  • Daniella Lloyd (City of Bristol)
  • Cerys Larsen (Reading Royals)
  • Millie Costello (City of Leeds)
  • Isobel Blinkhorn (Reading Royals)
  • Lily Todd (City of Bristol)
  • Eleanor Blinkhorn (Reading Royals)
  • Olivia Baker (Walsall)
  • Evie Garrett (City of Bristol)
  • Alyssa Basinger (Reading Royals)
  • Aimee Lawrence (City of Salford)
  • Laurel Allen (City of Bristol)
  • Robyn Swatman (Walsall)
  • Beatrice Crass (Reading Royals)
  • Rosie Rallings (Reading Royals)
  • Daisy Gunn (Reading Royals)
  • Tara Dakovic (Reading Royals)
  • Isobel Davies (City of Leeds)
  • Laura Turberville (Reading Royals)
  • Evie Walker (Stockport Metro)
  • Cerys Hughes (City of Bristol)
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