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Swimming - 21. April 2008.


20 April 2008

Olivia Allison and Jenna Randall have met the selection criteria needed to book Britain's place at the Olympics after a superb performance at the qualification tournament for synchronised swimming.

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

The British pairing competed in the second round of the Duet Free event today for the final four places available at the Beijing Games.

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

The eight countries and regions that have qualified for the team event are automatically entered for the Olympic duet event. The remaining 16 pairs comprise of 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.

The top 14 ranked duets after the Technical and the first round of the Free event at this qualification tournament were selected for the Olympics.

Only four places were left for the remaining duets, which were decided by taking the Technical score and that from the second round of the Free event.

Britain's Allison and Randall were joined by duets from Slovakia, Austria, Belarus, Dominica, Venezuela, the Czech Republic and Germany.

They took to the water first in a fully packed National Aquatics Centre with high hopes after going into the second round as the top ranked duet.

After a solid performance, the girls maintained their position at the top of the scoreboard to become one of four duets to take up the final places for the event at the Olympics later this year.

With a final score of 87.666, Allison and Randall were a point clear of their nearest rivals, Katsiaryne Kulpo and Nastasiya Parfenova of Belarus.

British Synchronised Swimming National Performance Director, Biz Price, was happy with the performances they gave at the tournament.

"I'm very, very pleased with how Olivia and Jenna have done. They have given three solid performances and were leading throughout today's round," said Price.

"In terms of performance, we were ahead of the other competing nation's and when you look at the scores from today it would have given us 14th position on Friday.

"The girls were disappointed to have had to swim in the second round but being able to swim in front of a full-capacity crowd in the centre would have been a good experience for them."

With Britain's place secured the athletes will begin preparing for the Olympics when they return home.

"Looking ahead, we have another training camp in Spain which will be a week long and some competitions in the lead up to the Games," continued Price.

"The scores Olivia and Jenna have been getting have been in the high 8's, and I will be looking at the programme and increasing the difficulty of the routines as we take the next step up."

Allison was pleased with how the tournament went for her and Randall.

"We had a plan coming into the competition and knew what we wanted to achieve. We've proven that we are meant to be here and will work to improve on our performances here," said Allison.

"The pool is amazing and it was really good to swim in front of a large crowd today. When we get back home we'll look back on this week and revise to routine to make it even better."
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