New Year's Day: Carolyn Wilson, Karen Thompson, Gayle Adamson, Adele Carlsen, Katie Webber and myself all meet at Healhrow airport at 8.30 am! We're off to sunny Perth, Auslralia for the World Swimming Championships, the biggest event on the swimming calendar.
We all survive the 14 hour flight to Kuala Lumpar but there's still anolher 5 hours to go before we reach Perth. Sleeping on the plane proves difficult but we make it We are fumigated on the plane and then my fruit is sniffed out by a sniffer guard dog and removed.
The sports complex for the World Championships is Challenge StadiumThe Worlds were also held here in 1991.
Training under the hot sun is a wonderful experience and Carolyn has to repeatedly lell us to leave the pool al the end of the session. We wanted to slay in the refreshing, clear water for as long as possible! Our tans are already developing nicely!
Sadly, Katie Webber who was selected lo swim the free duet routine faints in the hotel and hurts her head and back on the hard floor. She scares us all by being rushed off to hospital on a stretcher. lt is decided that Adele and I will swim both the technical and free routines as Katie is unfit to swim. This is unfortunate but at least the accidenl was not too serious and Katie is all right.
While the results are not as high as we had hoped, we are pleased with our performances and feel that we have prepared as well as was possible. We watch the finals. Russia takes the gold in solo, duet and team, becoming lhe World Champions in every event. This makes the history books as it is the first tirne that Europe has been at the top of world synchro. The previous World Champions, the USA, as well as other top nations, have suffered wilh the loss of their top swimmers after the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
Olga Sedakova is now the new solo World Champion. She receives 10s for her fantastic perfornance of strength and beauty. Her solo appears to constantly flow and be moving as she interprets the music in her unique style. A young talent for the future Virginie Dedieu from France, takes the silver in lhe solo. She is just eighteen years old and doesn't need to wear a noseclip. Her routine is the highlight of the solo final. She touches the audience displaying amazing height, control and emotion.
World synchronized swimming is changing. 1t is moving into a new era-one that is being led by the Russians and the far eastern counlries. lhey are now creating moves that no-one else in the world can do. They are producing a new style of synchro. A slyle that is fast-paced,original, and extraordinary.
As synchro swimmers in this country, we need lo be more athletic,more flexible. fitter, slronger, more creative and more rmentally tough in order to slay up with the rest of lhe world. Many of lhe wold class synchronized swimmers are funded and are currently training full time. These nations are constantly increasing in strength and are continually producing better athletes. As we strive to keep up with them we will discover that full time training and funding are vital."