I have been doing synchronised swimming for 8 years now. Synchronised swimming is a very varied sport; it is artistic, similar to dance, ice skating or gymnastics and it is necessary to be extremely expressive to convey a story or a theme. Also, it is a highly athletic and demanding sport; top synchronised swimmers hold their breath for up to two minutes and the aerobic capacity of synchronised swimmers is second only to long distance runners.
I first started synchronised swimming when I was 10 at a small club in Bolton. There I learnt all the basics and fell in love with the sport. However, after 2 years the club closed and I moved to City of Preston Aquatics, where I still train. Here I began to really focus on the sport as something I wanted to do competitively and not just for fun; I started to compete at various competitions both locally and nationally. I also obtained my ‘skill levels’ which are 5 awards needed to help qualify for certain events. With help from my family and coaches I progressed from being a member of the City of Preston Aquatics team to being chosen to swim the duet and eventually qualifying in the top 12 nationally to swim my solo.
In September 2017, I was fortunate enough to be selected for the Great Britain Synchronised Swimming training squad and since then I have travelled around the country to train with them. Most of the training takes place in Bristol or Surrey so involves a fair amount of travelling! Every half term, Easter and Christmas I have week-long training camps and every other Saturday I travel down for training with the team to perfect our routines. I have loved this year training with the GB team.
I train 21 hours a week over 6 days. This involves 8 hours of land training and 13 hours in the water. Of this, only 13 hours are with my club, the rest I complete at home or at Horwich Leisure Centre in the gym or pool. This does not include the additional training I complete for GB, and I have to fit all of this around my other commitments including studying for my A-Levels at Cardinal Newman College.
In September 2018 I will be trialling again for the GB senior team (it is necessary to re-trial annually) and I hope to be successful again. My current aim is to be selected for the competing squad in 2019 which would see me compete internationally for my country. Rhea
(Picture taken during Rhea’s free solo event at the National Championships held in Nottingham in April 2018.)
Thank you Rhea, and good luck for the trials in September, from everyone at St Katharine’s. Rhea, her sister Natasha and brother Adam, all help with Sunday School and the girls are both on the rota at the main Sunday Service as readers of the Epistle .