Synchro Team exceed expectations at World Championships
25 July 2017
SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING: The new-look Australian Synchronised Swimming Team has kicked off their four-year cycle towards Tokyo 2020 with two top-20 finishes, at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest.
While their first event, the Team Technical, may have been a rusty start to the competition, the team bounced back for the Team Free Event to “exceed expectations” and record a score greater than their Rio 2016 Olympic performance for their Australian flora and fauna themed routine.
Captain of the Synchro Team and Opening Ceremony Flag Bearer for the Australian aquatic squad in Budapest, Emily Rogers, was really pleased with the team’s overall performance on the world’s largest synchro stage.
“As captain of the Australian Synchronised Swimming team I felt very proud of the major improvements we made as a team in such a short amount of time,” 19-year-old Rogers said.
“Our team ranges from the ages of 15 - 24 and for some of the girls it was their first major international competition. I think we did an amazing job of coming together and bonding as well as we did and achieving our overall goal.
“It will definitely be a memorable competition for all of us.”
The team placed 20th in the Team Technical event at the iconic UNESCO World Heritage site, Heroes Square (Hősök tere), with a score of 72.6056.
The medals were won in the same order as they were at the Rio 2016 Games. Olympic Champions Russia successfully defended their 2015 World Championships title with an outstanding score of 96.0109, followed by China (94.2165) and Japan (93.1590).
Three-days later, the Australian team placed 18th in the Team Free event with a score of 76.0333, achieving their competition goal of bettering their Rio score of 75.433
Russia again won gold in the Team Free with a score of 97.3000, followed by China in silver with 95.2333 and Ukraine rounded out the podium with a score of 93.9333.
Coach of the senior national squad Lilanne Grenier, along with assistant coach and team manager Bianca Hammett, said the results were promising for the team’s future.
“Our first event could have gone better, but we came back very strong and had a great swim in the free team,” Grenier said.
“It was a personal best swim for the team and we achieved our goal of placing ahead of our Olympic rivals, Egypt.
“We are very proud of the team and could not have ended the competition on a better note. The team came together very quickly, as we only had two camps and one other international event to prepare us for this year’s World Championships.
“Our results have exceeded expectations and we could not be happier with the what we have achieved together in such little time,” she said.
London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympian Hammett, who has stepped out of the pool and is using her experience to help from the sidelines, was also very impressed with how quickly the team has gelled.
“The team is a mix of junior and senior athletes. Some have had previous international experience, but some have not,” Hammett said.
“We are very impressed at how they were able to unite in such a short time.
“Both us as coaches and the team as athletes learnt a lot on this journey. The importance of team work was highlighted throughout the last few months. The team became resilient and stronger than ever by committing themselves whole heartedly and working towards our objective.”
The Australian Senior team will head home to Australia for rest and recovery as their major international competitions for the year have wrapped up.
Synchro Australia will now turn their attention to the 2017 Synchronized Swimming Mediterranean Cup (Comen Cup) which will see Australia’s 13-15 national team compete in Portugal in August.
Australian team for Team Technical:
HANNAH CROSS, JANE FRUZYNSKI, KIERA GAZZARD, DANIELLE KETTLEWELL, NIKITA PABLO, RACHEL PRESSER, EMILY ROGERS, AMIE THOMPSON, and reserves KIRSTEN KINASH and SUE-ANN LIM.
Australian team for Team Free:
HANNAH CROSS, JANE FRUZYNSKI, KIERA GAZZARD, DANIELLE KETTLEWELL, NIKITA PABLO, RACHEL PRESSER, EMILY ROGERS, AMIE THOMPSON, and reserves KAZIA ZENKE and ERICA LI.