Our journey to Vaxjo, Sweden was to be on two flights. The first leg of our journey from Heathrow to Copenhagen was very comfortable, but when we saw the tiny twin-propelled Scandanavian airways plane that was taking us on to Vaxjo, we weren't sure it would ever leave the ground, to our surprise, we made it.
On Thursday morning, Jo Cooper revealed to us that we had to walk to and from the pool which was located in beautiful surroundings edged by a lake. When Georgie Coombes and Jo Seeberg, our coaches, saw the pool the flipped, as they realised changes had to be made to the deckwork and beginning of the team routine due to diving boards and blocks at the deep end of the pool. We did not believe a pool could possibly be any colder than the water at St. Paul's at Hammersmith where our training sessions were held in England.
The figures started at 6pm and the 63 competitors from Mexico, Korea, Russia, England and numerous clubs in Sweden were raring to go. Everyone swam extremely well and we were placed between 4th and 18th -an excellent result, so we decided to celebrate that night at Macdonald's.
On Saturday 16th the routines began, with the first event being the duet prelims. Kathryn an Emma swam brilliantly and scored well with very entjhusiastic support from the Squad. At lunchtime the solo prelims started where Katie and Kelly swam for England. Kelly was drawn to swim 11th and Katie swimming 31st. They both swam superbly doing their country proud. Kelly coming 3rd and Katie 4th just behind the 2 Koreans.
The duet final was to end the second day of competition. Kathryn and Emma were drawn to swim last and they swam even better than they had in the prelims with their synchronisation spot-on, gaining them high marks and a superb silver medal. The Koreans won gold and Mexico the bronze.
We had an enjoyable walk back to the hotel in very high spirits. On Sunday morning we all got up feeling both excited and nervous. We arrived at the pool for the solo final. Kelly was our solo representative and swam fantastically well gaining herself and our country another silver medal.
We prepared ourselves for the team event having a quick warm-up before the start. Georgie and Jo really psyched us up to perform well and "GO FOR IT. We were drawn to swim 3rd and were determined to make our training pay off. Our number was announced and our time finally arrived. We swam very precisely, sharply and were well synchronised (this is what Georgie and Jo said by the way) with lots of support throughout. We were pleased with our high marks and achieving silver medals. The presentations were really special with the
team members each receiving a glass vase, silver medal, a fresh rose and a certificate. We were pleased to see the hard work of our coaches, team manager and judges recognised, when Georgie, Jo, Jo, Mary and Margaret all receiving a fresh rose on the poolside. We were very happy at the end of the competition feeling we had swam well and we relaxed at the pool that afternoon - where Georgie and Jo Seeberg proved to us that they could still swim - by performing a duet in the pool (including doubles - wow) and were awarded 7.5 by our team members. We arrived back at the hotel early afternoon and decided to make up a fun mime routine to perform for everyone that night at the Pizza Parlour. We spent our last night in Vaxjo enjoying a meal with our parents and supporters. After our meal - tables were pushed back and Georgie turned on our music "BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY" and our mime to the muuic began. Everyone enjoyed it so much, everyone was clapping and tears of laughter poured down the faces of those watching. It was a great evening and a lovely end to a very successful competition. On Monday morning we sadly left Vaxjo after a tremendous week of training and competitions to return home to England. Our farewells at Heathrow were emotional and sad - we had II become firm friends during that week and it was sad to see everyone leaving to go their separate ways. The Squad members were: Sarah Thompson, Katie Spooner, Jody Veryard, Gayle Adamson, Emily Duerden, Kelly Wise, Lucy Bunting, Krestina Hayes, Emma Harvey and Kathryn Pounder.
Our Squad's special thanks go to Georgie Coombes, Jo Seeberg, and Jo Cooper who. during our four months of training and at the competition, spurred us on to train really hard, gave us tremendous support and encouragement, made sure we had fun and never expected us o work harder than they did themselves. Our thanks also go to Mary Rushby and Margaret Coyne who accompanied us to Sweden. Their friendly support and encouragement was of great value to us and we all enjoyed their company.
Our thanks go to Speedo for their valued support.
GAYLE ADAMSON - Squad Captain