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Swimming - 18. April 2008.

BRITISH SYNCHRO PAIR BEGIN OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION CAMPAIGN





The 2008 Olympic Games Synchronised Swimming Qualification Tournament at the National Aquatics Centre will see the world's leading nations descend on Beijing to book their place at the Olympics.

The Olympic duet qualification rules are somewhat complicated due to the large number of teams involved.

The eight countries and regions that have qualified for the team event will automatically be entered for the Olympic duet event. The remaining 16 pairs will comprise the top-ranked pair at the continental championships or continental games and the best-ranked pairs at this tournament, excluding those who have already earned Olympic berths.

With 32 pairs vying for more than ten duet tickets, including World medallists Spain and Canada and World finalists Ukraine and Greece, the overall level of the tournament is going to be high.

Randall and Allison took to the pool today in the Duet Technical routine and currently lie in 15th place after the first round with a score of 86.166.

After competing in the Duet Free routine on Friday (18 April), 50% of both marks will be taken and combine to give them their final score and placing.

Currently, a number of countries who have already booked their place are ranked above them and if Randall and Allison carry on in the form they are in they have an extremely strong chance of becoming Britain's first synchronised swimming entry at an Olympics since 1992.

British Synchronised Swimming National Performance Director, Biz Price was happy with how the first stage has gone for the duet.

"I'm really pleased with how the girls have performed today. They were a little shaky during their practice but they were settled as they went in to compete," said Price.

"With any technical routine, you will be punished harshly if your balance is slightly out or your vertical line drops, so it was important that Jenna and Olivia were able to control this before they went into the water."

With the first round out of the way, Britain's chances are promising.

"Everything is looking good for us," said Price. "A number of duets will already have secured their place and with the team events still to come there will be others who make the grade, so our chances of making it are strong."

Britain's progress under Price has been remarkable and performances have improved since their outing at the European Championships last month.

"Many of the judges out here in Beijing have commented on the improvement the girls have made since the European Championships just three weeks ago, so the future is very promising," said Price.

The results of the duet competition on Friday will determine which teams will be required to swim a second Free routine on Sunday, April 20 to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in August.
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