City of Preston Aquatics Synchronised Swimming Club based at Leyland Leisure Centre demonstrate why their swimmers are in Team Great Britain
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Eight times a week, swimmers aged nine to 22 train hard on land and in water to build up their skills and perfect their talents in artistic swimming.
Trained under head coach Fiona Haworth, who started her career 40 years ago, the club is home to girls of all ages who have a passion for swimming in sync and dreams to compete nationally in their sport.
Reaching its twentieth birthday on Friday, the club brings high school, college, university, and master's students together to swim in time and perform using a broad range of practised technique and skills.
Fiona said: “We teach from eight years through, so our current members of the club are aged eight, nine all the way up to 22. We have swimmers that are completing their master's degrees, girls in sixth form and high school, and they all put lots of hours in.
"The sport has just everything, it’s so diverse, you have the artistic side, choreographing to music, speed swimming, running, and circuit training. You have more technical aspects, skills and spins, you’ve got to have more flexibility than a gymnast because you’ve got to be able to pull your legs past the surface of the water. It’s all-encompassed into this one sport and I love it.
“This year we’re really lucky as we have four different swimmers on four different national squads. It’s quite an achievement for only a small club, we are really, really proud.”
The girls in the club train eight times a week, four swimming sessions and four land sessions.
Deborah Howard has two daughters at the club and has since gotten involved herself as one of the coaches. She said: “When I first started, I was just a parent watching on the die, about a year in I started coaching.
It’s a really great sport to get involved in. There’s such comaradery between all the swimmers they have a great time together. It’s hard work, they make it look very easy, but it isn’t easy, they are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool throughout their routines. But they really do get on so well together and it’s so much fun.”
Marisa Whitehurst, aged 15 and a year 10 pupil, has been involved with the club for five years. She said: “I really enjoy having the chance to perform and do my own choreography at big competitions and I like being able to express dance and gymnastics in the pool. It’s really hard because you never get to touch the ground and there’s a lot of trust in the team to do lifts and you have to also look at each other under the water to know where everyone is.”
Natasha Howard, aged 17 and a college student studying sport science said: “It’s a huge misconception that synchro is just dancing underwater, but it takes a lot of skill dedication and hours to get where we are now.
"We train every day apart from Thursdays. My main goal is to get a national medal, that would be really cool."