Last year proved to be the most successful 12 months in Olivia Allison’s career after she competed in the 2008 Olympics with her duet partner Jenna Randall. Their performance in the Beijing Water Cube surpassed everyone’s expectations and showed the rest of the world just where British Synchro is heading.
The British duet finished in 14th place overall, which proved to be an improvement of six places in just one year. Their success and the continued hard work at the High Performance Centre in Aldershot led to Synchronised Swimming receiving a 110% increase in their 2009-2013 funding from UK Sport.
Allison took three weeks off after Beijing before getting back into the pool and training towards the Madrid World Trophy, where the duet shocked the international synchro community by wearing flamenco shoes to execute the thematic duet.
“Although we took time off after Beijing we were still required to keep up with our cardio vascular and weights work to make sure our fitness levels didn’t drop,” Allison said. “Since Beijing Jenna and I were included in the training for the team and this has been tough but great.
“We competed at our first competition in Madrid, because they were only judging the artistic routines we didn’t have to perform our technical routine. We scored nines in both the team event and the combo event.
“This was a great result for us because the other girls have only been training together for the past year they have been working on their fitness levels at the High Performance Centre.
“For the duet we had shoes on which was daunting to start with and the egg beater was difficult to do with them on, but it was worth it especially after all the times in training we caught each other with the heels.”
The British squad recently continued their good form at the German Open where they secured two medals including bronze in the team combination event which Allison was an important part of.
“The German Open was great,” Allison commented. “The past six months have been tough on Jenna and I because we have to compete in lots of different routines which means a lot of extra training.
“At the Olympics we only had the two routines for the duet but if we qualify in all of the events at the World Championships I will compete in 10 routines and Jenna will be competing in 12.”
The Olympian has experienced sychro competitions in ten countries around the world but envies the junior team that will compete in front of a home crowd in Gloucester at the 21st LEN European Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships in April.
“I am quite jealous of the girls that will get to compete in Gloucester,” Allison added. “I missed my last year of juniors and I think it would have been a great event to have competed in. I am, however, hoping to go and support the girls during the competition.
“It is great that we are holding these Championships in Britain because it helps us improve our name on a world stage. People will come to Britain and recognise the fantastic facilities and the development of the sport.”
The top 16 junior athletes from the figures competition at the British Championships have been invited to attend a camp at the High Performance Centre in Aldershot this month to fight for their place in the final team of 10 athletes that will compete in Gloucester.
The junior athletes will train alongside the British squad and will have the opportunity to take advantage of this important opportunity to learn from the senior athletes.
“I have seen some of the athletes that are in the top 16 and there are some really strong athletes that are coming through and it is really exciting to see,” Allison said. “It is going to be great to have the junior athletes here. I know we will all be on hand to advise and help them through their camp. It is hard when you are away from home for the first time but I think they will all settle into the routine well.
“The last time the junior and senior athletes were away together Biz had Jenna and I make a speech to the juniors to explain what we had learnt since we moved to Aldershot and give them advice which included explaining just how important competition simulations are.”
Allison and the rest of the British squad will be behind the junior British squad. To secure your place to be at the heart of the action purchase your tickets here