Teenagers set for big test at FINA World Youth Artistic Swimming Championships

Twelve teenagers are to face the biggest challenge of their young synchronised swimming careers when they jet out to Slovakia for the first ever FINA World Youth Artistic Swimming Championships.

The Great Britain squad includes several who will be making their international debut during the competition in Samorin between 28 August and 1 September.

Walsall duo Olivia Baker and Robyn Swatman will take part in the duet competitions, while they will join 10 others – Laurel Allan, Eleanor Blinkhorn, Maddie Brown, Tilly Budd, Beatrice Crass, Emma Laycock, Libby Taylor, Alexandra Thickett, Lilly Todd and Evie Walker – for the team events.

Not only will they face some of the best young synchronised swimmers in the world, many will also have to adjust to the challenge of competing in an outdoor pool for the first time.

Karen Thorpe, Swim England Synchro Manager, said: “All the top nations will be competing and this will be a huge test for the team.

“They are aged between 13 and 15 years and, for some, it will be their first taste of international competition.

Standard will be exceptionally high

“There’s rumoured to be more than 30 nations competing in the compulsory figures event so that could last at least six hours so they will have to really focus.

“The standard will be exceptionally high and our goal will be to get as close to the top 12 as we can.”

Before they fly out to Slovakia, the team will be taking part in a week-long intense training camp.

Karen added: “This squad have only been training together this season.

“They have been training all through the school holidays throughout this year and a few weekends, while training at their clubs the rest of the time.

“We’re looking forward to the competition and giving it our best shot.”

The team will be travelling to Samorin with coach Barbara Lithadioti, assistant coach Michaela Kostraki and team manager Sarah Clarke.

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