Women's Sport Week: Spotlight on Jenny GrayOctober 3, 2016
To celebrate Women’s Sport Week, the ASA is highlighting the work of some truly inspirational women across aquatics.
In this ‘Spotlight on’ feature, we speak to synchronised swimming’s Jenny Gray, who will receive her MBE this week for her services to the sport over an incredible 56 years.
How did you get involved with synchro?
I started in sport as a diver with Slough and District Diving Club and then the Metropolitan School of Diving.
Both clubs produced aquatic shows and I tried my hand with a little synchronised swimming. But I started training far more seriously after I had two very serious accidents.
This was right at the time synchronised swimming was becoming a competitive sport in England.
How long have you been involved with the ASA?
I’ve been a member of the ASA for 56 years and a synchronised swimmer for 52 of those.
What is it you enjoy most about being involved with the ASA?
The ASA has always supported me in a career pathway.
I took my ASA teaching qualifications as a young PE teacher and then joined the ASA as National Development Officer for Synchronised Swimming and Diving.
I’ve been involved in the development of coaching qualifications ever since, primarily – but not exclusively – in synchronised swimming
The ASA supported me in my membership of both the LEN and FINA Technical Committees, and as the Chair of the Synchronised Swimming technical committee / management group between 2004 – 2015.
Why do you think it is important for women and girls to take part in sport?
I think it is very important that all children have the opportunity to be involved in sporting activity.
I might be a little biased but I think synchronised swimming is the perfect sport for women and girls.
It is a combination of dance, and all the grace, elegance and glamour that come with that, as well as athleticism.
All sports allow girls to challenge their potential and synchronised swimming combines individual skill with team camaraderie.
What do you love about synchro?
Synchronised swimming has been a very special part of my life.
I am lucky to have been taught by some of the best including George and Doris Rackham, as well as Dawn Zajac when I competed with the GB team.
I have met lifelong friends all across the world through the sport. It has given me the chance to both compete and officiate at the highest level, and through that I have traveled the world.
I love coaching and working with the next generation and I love supporting them to achieve their potential and dreams.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
The best advice I have ever been given is from ASA tutor, Alan Asquith.
His advice for teaching was ‘teach the child and not the lesson plan’.
I hope I follow this constantly and continue to put the athlete at the centre of everything I do.