Southern Counties Age Groups - Bracknell, 12th April & St Georges, 10th May
10 & under
Samantha Luckett - Solo, Figures
Diana Singh - Duet
Naomi Taylor Solo, Duet
Louise Rutter - Figures, Solo, Duet
Jo Svensen Duet
Emma Clark - Figures, Solo, Duet
Sarah Northey - Duet, Figures, Solo
Joanne Luckett - Figures, Solo, Duet
Susie Vockins - Figures, Silver
Victoria Maybury - Figures, Solo
Vicky Elson - Silver
17 & over
Joanne Seeburg - Figures, Solo, Duet
Samantha Allen Figures,Duet
Andrea Hughes Solo, Figures
Nicola Wilson Solo,Figures
Sara Hartley Duet
Rebekah Taylor - Solo, Duet
12 & under - Reading 'A'
13/14yrs - Reading
15/16yrs - Reading
17 & over - Reading
England Age Group - Madrid, 10-18th May
The Age Group Squad travelled to Madris for the II San Isidro Open.
The 9 strong team included 4 Reading Royal swimmers.
Louise is a member of Reading Royals, where she is coached by Jenny Gray and Andrea Holland. She is the current Southern Couniies 13/14 Solo Figure champion and together with Julia Svensen, Duet champion. Louise and Julia were also the Under-12 National Duet champions in 1984 Her current ambition is to swim solo, duet and team in next year's Age Group team.
Lindsay is a member of Reading Royals and was reserve for the England Age Group team. She started synchro after seeing a
Christmas show and, as she says, it all happened from there.She now trains about 13 hours a week and is coached by Jenny Gray and her mother Jenny Smith.Her ambition is to live a healthy life! ln her spare time Lindsay enjoys football, cookery and music.
Vicky is a member of Reading Royals and is coached by
Jennifer Gray for figures and by her sister Alison for routines.She was unfortunate in not being selected for the squad in 1985 when an accident during the event prevented her from swimming her solo. She trains most days of the week and in
her spare time walks her dog Solo.
Jo is a member of Reading Royals, where she is coached byAndrea Holland. She started synchro when she was 7 because her mother took her! Jo was 3rd in last year's 13,/14 National
Age Group Solo championship and together with Sarah
Northey, took the duet title. She won 12 gold medals while a member of the Reading Royals U/12team. She hopes on eday to represent G.B. in the Olympics and win.
MEMORIES OF MADRID
"We returned to the hotel, by which we seemed to take a long cut. After lunch we went to our rooms for a little while, before going back to the pool for training - this time on the team. The team didn't go too well according to Shelagh, and everyone was making 'silly mistakes' and we were told to pull our 'socks up'. After doing the team routine a couple of times more, and more figure practices, we got out, blue in the face, and had a nice warm shower. We then returned to the hotel for a gorgeous meal - which nobody ate! Before going to bed we walked through the team for about an hour, under the strict eye of Shelagh!"
"That evening Shelagh, Shirley and the judges went to a banquet, so l was left incharge; and we dutifully did a lot of walkthroughs, even though we were interrupted several times by passers-by stopping to watch us and asking what we were doing! Not that we minded.
It was then time for the team, and everyone was getting just a bit nervous, even Shelagh. But in the end, the team swam very well and we got high marks - but were just pipped by France, who swam a very well synchronised team and deserved to win.
We then all took our hair down and started to eat our dinners, only to find a couple of hours later that we had to swim in the display. So back we went to the changing rooms to put our hair back up! At the party after we had some things, I don't know what they were, to eatl And we also had a go at drinking sangria out of a vinegar pot, and some of us seemed to have got the knack!"
During the last several months, especially the time in Madrid, I think all of the team made newfriends, and enjoyed themselves a lot. So I would just like to thank Shelagh for all her hard work and help; Shirley forlooking after us; the two judges, Pat and Lorraine, for coming with us and helping us; and Mr Machin, who gave up so much time to help us on our figures; and I hope they enjoyed themselves as much as we did ! Thanks." JO LUCKETT
"Arrived at Heathrow Park Hotel where we were going to be issued with additional items to take away with us. The speed swimmers were given their full 'kit' but unfortunately we were not given the GB training costumes that we had been promised, so we only had one wearable costume for 10 days swimming
On the way to training everyone searched for a McDonalds.
The pool was so cold that during our three-hour training session we kept
having to run out every half-an-hour for a hot shower.
First member of the team injured (Jo's hip).
We met some of the other teams at the hotel - the French had masses of team clothing which we were all anxious to swap at a later date. (They weren't so keen !)Second member of team injured (Vicky's earache).
Third member of the team ill(Angela)
It poured with rain all day. Sam wasthe only sensible person brave enough to wear her plastic wet suit trousers:everyone in the town must have thought she looked really mega-trendy, because they couldn't stop staring at her!
The day of the figure competition.The physiotherapist came with us to soothe away all the aches and Pains incurred from contorting our bodies into weird positions. She had not realised before just how supple synchro
swimmers have to be. The Russians showed this perfectly by doing back
bends and holding 'crab' positions on the land endlessly just to warm up.
4th member of the team ill (me).
Jo Preston's hip had been hurting all week, but after swimming the team she was in such agony that she couldn't move, so the doctor was called. lt was then diagnosed that she had suspected appendicitis and she was rushed to t.heBritish Military Hospital where herappendix was removed soon afterwards." SOPHIE LLOYD - Team Captain
G.B. JUNIORS AT HEATHROW
Back Row, left to right: Vicky Elson, Maria Erraught, Angela Davenport,Katie Wishart, Jo Seeburg.
Front row, l-r: Jo Preston, Sue Richards, Sophie Loyd, Sarah Northey, Sam Allen'
Four Reading Royals travelled to West Berlin for the competition. Jo Seeburgh ranked 5th in the solos and Samantha Allen (with Joanne Preston) and Sarah Northey (with Angela Davenport) finished 9th and 10th respectively in the duets. The three with Vicky Elson also swam Team (6th)
Junior European Championships, (West) Berlin,
XIII Commonwealth Games - Edinburgh 25th-28th July
Back to the Synchro event and some views of proceedings -
"It was with very mixed feelings that I flew to Edinburgh.'A feeling of tremendous sadness that the Games had been used in a political fashion and this meant that not all the competitors would be there."
"I felt sadness in the fact that synchro had obviously been treated not too seriously by many countries and even those who had eligable swimmers would not be represented."
"The Commonwealth Pool was packed with people anticipating routines. They were sadly disappointed. The competition, with only 11 competitors, was held in the silence of a large competition. The marks were given, but no other explanation was given and a lot of very disgruntled people left before the end.
ln the evening, the solo preliminaries were held. Yes,preliminaries. Five solos and preliminaries were held!
The standard of competition though was very high. The winner, Sylvie Franchette, was fantastic. She showed height, strength and power - and she made it all look effortless. Her flexibility was just perfection. Her splits had to be seen to be believed' She left me with a tingling feeling and made me feel as though she was swimming just for me.
England won silvers in the Solo (Amanda Dodd)and Duet (Dodd & Nicki Shearn) but as you might expect images are thin on the ground these days.
It was only a pity the audience had not returned to see it all. The session was included in the price of the swimming
tickets and these were all sold. As a gentleman sitting next to me said: what a way to run a railway! The FINA officials enjoying a cocktail party close to the diving area showed their interest in the sport by requesting the music to beturned down. How can we ever win!
During the Figures a new figure was created, a Triple Spiral. Yes, one swimmer - mentioning no names - decided that two twists were not enoughand performed three. She scored between 6-7 1/2. A very interesting point for the referees course.
Synchro has arrived in the Commonwealth and hopefully it will stay, but I firmly believe there must be great
improvements if it is to stay. lt must be sold to the audience, it must be seen to be far more efficiently run and it cannot risk being seen to be something different, the very
thing other sporting officials and press have been saying for years. We must prove it is a sport, a worthwhile sport and
that we have as much right to be there as any other sport.
I must congratulate Scotland and in particular Mary Black in getting synchro included in the Games."
There were no RR swimmers in the England or Scotland teams took part in the synchro but there was reflection a plenty on what was anyway a contraversial event because of the boycott due to the UK government's at-the-time sporting policy with South Africa. On lighter matters.....the trend on having animals included in the parade continued with dog handlers and a Scottish terrier accompanying each team into the stadium. This tied in nicely with the Games' mascot "Mac".
GB Seniors flew a full squad to Madrid and swam Solo, Duet and team finishing 8th, 5th and 9th respectively. Joanne Seeburg was the only (and youngest) RR member of the team.
And room enough just for a quote or two from captain Ali Garratt's at-the-time report -
We used a third pool in a seperate complex and it was as cold as ice. Tracy said: "It'll freeze our eyeballs off if we don't use goggles." It was a good excuse don't you think?
In the team prelims, we swam the best we'd ever swum (after a few hiccups in training). Unfortunately the lift we performed at the end didn't come off. Jo waved a leg at the audience instead of her arm !It meant we didn't make the final for the first time in quite a few years.
Venue: Central Baths
12 & under
Naomi Taylor - 10th
Julia Svensen - 7th
Emma Clark - Gold
Sarah Northey - Silver
Victoria Elson, Joanne Luckett, Susie Vockins
Louise Rutter - 4th
Sarah Northey - Gold
Emma Clark - Silver
Diana Singh & Naomi Taylor - Silver
Louise Rutter & Julia Svensen - Gold
Joanne Luckett & Sarah Northey - Gold
Emma Clark & Alison Maybury - Silver
Vicky Elson & Susie Vockins - Bronze
Louise Rutter &
National Age Groups, Southampton -27/28th September
12& under - Reading - Silver
13/14yrs - Reading - Bronze
15/16yrs - Reading - Gold
Clubs competing. BristolCentral SC, Barnet Copthall SC
Bedtord SC, Brent Flamingoes,Branrston Concordes SSC
Exeter SSC, Hounslow Boro SS, Calderdale SSc
Portsmouth Victoria SC,Rushmoor SSC,Reading Royals SSC
Sale SC, Sevmour SSS,Troutbeck Brrdge SC, Walsall SSC
ASA National Champs - Sharston Pool, Manchester - 1st November
Joanne Seeburg - 7th
Samantha Allen, Sally Manning, Sarah Northey
Solo (Helen Elkington Trophy)
Joanne Seeburgh - Bronze
Sarah Northey, Sally Manning, Samantha Allen
Duet (Spencer Trophy)
J.Seeburgh/S.Allen - Silver
S.Northey/J Luckett - Bronze
Team (Redwood Trophy)
Reading Royals - Silver
Gallery & other things
READING ROYALS CHRISTMAS SHOW
"Reading Royals produced a very 'professional' entertaining version of Desert lsland Discs, with Dave Elson as the castaway. The show was very ambitious and included all their winning team routines together withvery well choreographed routines for up to 50 swimmers. These were not the usual swim routines, but difficult teams.
Congratulations to all the choreographers and the swimmers for an excellent show. Special mention must be made of the routine choreographed by Jean Allen, who combined difficult synchro skills together with a team of fathers to give a very original production. I thought one or two of the dads might need resuscitation before the end and l was in trouble for not recognising the difference between a ballet leg and an oyster, but they allobviously enjoyed it, as did the audience. lt added to make one of the best synchro shows I have seen in a long time."
THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
September 2, 1986
Dear Mrs Evans,
Thank you for your interesting letter
and I apologise for the delay in replying.
Unfortunately, we are not going to
agree about synchronised swimming. Of
course, I appreciate the dedication and
athleticism of the people involved, but I
honestly feel that the end result is absurd.
Sadly, I could not survive a two-hour
training session with the swimmers any
more than they could meet a deadline
with a l500-word article. I wish them all
well, and particularly your daughter, but
I'm afraid I cannot be convincedthat what
they are doing has very much in common
with serious sport.
Thank you again for writing and I hope
you will accept the sincerity - if not the
validity - of my views.
Synchro's introduction into the Commonwealth Games received something of a mixed response. Some put pen to paper in defence and these were some of the replies:-
7th August 1986
Dear Mrs Evans,
Thank you for your letter aboutsynchronised swimming.I agree with many of the points you make - and I can only refer you to the
item we used on Central Sport on Thursday July I7th which featured Walsall Synchronised Swimming Club and the captain of the British team.
This in no way ridiculed the sport.Rather we set out to show the amount of hard training and specialised swimming skills needed to participate in synchronised swimming.
I can only think that the comments in your letter were generated by some media reaction to the event at the Commonwealth Games.
With best wishes,
British Broadcasting Corporation
7th August 1986
Dear Mrs Evans,
I would no sooner undergo 2 hours
training at synchronised swimming than
2 hours sparring with Frank Bruno.
Although your sport mrcses me, I have
never denied that it takes brilliant
athleticism to excel at it. Long may you
continue to enjoy it, I will continue to be
amused by it.
pp Desmond Lynam,
P r es enter, G r an dst an d.