Kiwis block road to Rio
The Westsider recently got the chance to meet the Golden Fish Synchronised swimming Club at Victoria University Aquatic and Fitness Centre and discuss the team with competition team manager Amanda Maher. The girls are aiming to beat New Zealand at the world championships in Kazan in order to qualify to compete on the international stage in Rio for the 2016 Olympics.
Q. Why do the team members choose synchronized swimming as a sport?
A.Most of the girls have either come from a swimming squad background and have started to find the lap swimming boring, or come from a dancing/calisthenics background and love the water too, so it’s a good fit for them.
Q. What motivates them to get up early to practice?
A. Luckily there’s not too many early mornings as the swimming squads have the pool then so there’s no room for us! So most of it is daytime or evening training unless they are away on camps.
Q. How many hours a week do the team members train?
A. Most of the girls train about 10 hours per week. The girls that are in the National squad also have extra training sessions and frequent live in camps at the Australian Institute of Sport.
Q. How long does it take to perfect a routine?
A. A long time! Probably a good 3-4 months to have it really looking good.
Q. How many routines does the team have to take to a competition?
A. There are lots of different age groups and then within each age group there are different routines – solos, duets, teams and then there is a combination event which involves girls across all the age groups. So for example for the upcoming National championships we are taking about 12 different routines in total.
Q. How strict are the dietary requirements?
A. The girls just need to follow a healthy diet that allows them to keep fit and train at a high level.
Q. What are some practical ways in which the community can support this particular sport?
A. I would say mainly by taking it seriously and appreciating what a demanding (and beautiful) sport it is.
Q. Do you have to undergo specific training to help hold your breath for extended periods of time?
A. Yes. The girls practice swimming laps holding their breath – this is called doing “unders”.
Q. How hard is it to stay synchronised when each swimmer has different strengths in the pool?
A. Good question! It is one of the difficult things and one of the reasons it takes so long to perfect a routine.
Q. What is the hardest part of your routine to perfect?
A.The synchronisation is the hardest – especially if there are girls that haven’t swum together before.
Q. How is the national team selected?
A. There are trials held with the National Team coach and a board of selectors. Swimmers are invited from all the clubs around Australia
Q. What strategies do we have to beat New Zealand at the World Championships in Kazan in July?
A. We have employed a coach from Canada (who are one of the top ranked countries) and are having more live in camps at the AIS. The girls will also be relocating to Perth for the month leading up to the World Championships to give them more time to train together.
Q. If we beat New Zealand what happens next?
A. Rio here we come!
Q. Do the girls enjoy being in water compared to being on land?
A. I would think most of the girls would give a resounding YES to this question!