Olympians Jenna Randall and Olivia Allison will lead a 12-strong British Gas Synchro squad into their toughest challenge yet as the girls prepare to compete at the World Championships in Rome.
The British Gas team made their international debut at the end of last year and impressed with high scores but with the top two synchro nations, Russia and Spain, competing in Rome the competition will be tough for the young athletes.
For the first time in over ten years the British Gas team will be participating in all events (the solo, the duet, the team and the combination) at the World Championships. Jenna Randall will be competing in all events while Olivia Allison competing in all but the solo events.
The British Gas team took part in the European Champions Cup in May and the girls performed well to finish above the Netherlands in the Team Free Final. The duet also enjoyed a successful competition finishing just one point behind Greece
National Performance Director Biz Price is looking for her athletes to step up to this new challenge as they face their World Championship debut.
“Throughout 2009 I have been pleased with the team and their performances,” Price said. “I was surprised with the scores of their debut and I believe that the European Cup was a reality check for us all. It made the athletes realise they needed to work harder.
“We have increased the intensity of their training since Andorra. The girls realised that to rank highly in the world they needed to up their game in training. It has been more mental work than physical with them to make sure that they are 100% prepared and focused for the Worlds.
“One of the ways that we have been working to prepare for Worlds is by running through competition simulations. We will be doing these in Malta at our training camp to make sure that the girls are as ready as possible before entering that arena.
“In Aldershot the team have been working with Head Coach Tatiana [Tsym] and their work has been intensive but good for them.
Randall and Allison have been leading the way with the rejuvenation of Synchronised Swimming in Britain. They performed at the 2007 World Championships and finished 20th in the duet.
In 2008 they exceeded expectations with a top 14 finish in the Olympics and during 2009 they have been given the opportunity to train alongside some of the world’s best athletes in Russia and Spain.
“Jenna and Olivia and Assistant Coach Lolli [Montico] have been working in Russia with the Russian Olympic coach,” Price said. “This has been specific duet training which I think has been greatly beneficial for them. For them to experience this sort of training before the Worlds is great.
“I would be really happy for the girls to reach the final in the duet and the solo. We haven’t achieved that before and I think that would be very satisfying. I hope that we will move up the world ranking and move closer to France.
“If we can get Jenna to perform at high intensity on the final day I would be really happy with that. She will be competing in more events than she has ever previously attempted and it would show me that the training was working if she was able to perform well in her last event.”
The 13th FINA World Championships will take place from 17th July – 2nd August 2008 in Rome