Reading Royals

Through the Year 1988

Senior Synchronised Swimming


Nicola Shearn, Bristol Central

Jackie Dodd, Barnet Copthall

Georgina Coombs, Bristol Central

Kerry Shacklock, Rushmoor

Lian Goodwin, Southport

Joanne Seeburg, Reading Royals

Angela Davenport, Walsall

Sarah Northey, Reading Royals

Joanne Preston, Barnet Cophall

Amanda Simm, Troutbeck Bridge

Susan Richards, Walsall

Jayne Wollaston, Barnet Copthall

Samantha Allen, Reading Royals

Anne Alexander, Walsall

Maria Erraught, Bristol Central

Katie Wishart, MPS

Kim Mclntosh, Portobello

Junior Synchronised Swimming


Kerry Shacklock, Rushmoor

Sarah Northey, Reading Royals

Susan Richards, Walsall

Anne Alexander, Walsall

Katie Wishart, MPS

Laila Vakil, Rushmoor

Collette Geier, Boro of Hounslow

Victoria Maybury, Reading Royals

Kirsty MacAndreq Barnet Copthall

Louise Rutter, Reading Royals

Emma Carlsen, Rushmoor

Age Group Synchronised

Swimming Squad

Josephine Wells, Rushmoor

Louise Skidmore, Bristol Central

Rebecca Scales, Rushmoor

Jenny Smith, Walsall

Jeanna Whistance, Walsall

Lynne Figes, Bristol Central

Karen Thompson, Bristol Central

Kathlyn Warren, Portsmouth Victoria

Helen Smith, Reading Royals

Louise Fishleigh, Reading Royals

GB Squads 1988

Figures  (Top  10 of 83)                                          Solo                                                  Team

Kirstin Hulbert   -     Gold            Laura Besley       -       Gold           12& U  Reading Royals"B"   -   Silver

Karen Clarkson   -     6th                                                                                     Reading Royals"A"  -   Bronze

Laura Besley        -     7th                                                                          16&U  Reading Royals        -  Gold         

Rachel Dudman  -    10th

A total of 83 swimmers from five clubs, Bracknell, Chiltern, Henley, Reading Royals and Reading Academy took part in the figures competition.

Berks & South Bucks Novice

Bracknell, 26th March

....concerns expressed in the competition report

"Some of the parents were also confused and concerned about the standards of judging. ln at

least one of the panels, marks as diverse as 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 were being seen simultaneously. One particular judge consistently gave marks around lhe 3 1/2 level, implying that the figures were

unrecognisable, and his general attitude gave the distinct impression of boredom! At one stage he disappeared for a considerable length of time,keeping 30 girls waiting to start their last figure".

England Juniors - Loano Synchro Cup - 31st March - 3rd April

Three RR swimmers, Sarah Northey, Vicky Maybury and Louise Rutter were in the England Juniors Team which swam in the competition and and achieved a very good 5th placed ranking. Sarah Northey in addition swam Solo and Duet (with Kerry Shacklock) and ranked 7th.

Full result sheet at the bottom of the section.

Squad line up at Gatwick

All smiles on the team coach.

'On Wednesday 30th March the England Junior Squad met at Gatwick Airport. Thesquad were all dressed in Navy mini skirts,white shirts and England jumpers. The flight'was uneventful and we arrived in Geneva on time. We were met only to be told thatwe had to wait for the ltalian team who werelanding in two hours time, so the squad settled down to play l-Spy.'

'Next morning we set off down to the pool for more figure practise as our first three figures were that afternoon, we left Caroline ill in bed, the figure competition went well. We went back to the hotel for some dinner which consisted of pasta, pasta or more pasta! Then it was staight to bed for an early


Everyone was a little anxious about swimming the team but after another team chat everyone was raring to go. Caroline was extremely pleased with our performance and we were rewarded with four 9's. Our placingeventually was 5th which was very good in a senior competition.' SARAH NORTHEY (extracts).

'Our England tracksuits and badges finally arrived as we all met

at Heathrow on Wednesday, 20th April, so fully kitted and after a

half hour delay, we boarded our plane for a short flight to


We arrived on time at Hotel Kaiserhof just in time for

dinner. After dinner there was a judges meeting where we found

out to our dismay that instead of Age Group Figures the Fina

List was to be used, and Group 2 was pulled out. We had not

practiced these figures so the panic set in early.

The next day, after breakfast, we rushed off to the pool to get

some figure practice in with Pat and Mary. After this session all

the countries visited the mayor of Wuppertal and to get there we

used the monorail. At the station there was a lot of confusion

about which stop we needed and with only 7 of our team plus

the Spanish Team and no coaches on the monorail, we got off at

the wrong stop. When we eventually arrived at the town hall, we

were told a story about an elephant on the monorail!

Later in the afternoon we had another session for routines and this went well so we were optimistic about them.The figures went well for most people and we finished in 4th place behind the Swiss, the French and the Dutch. In the duet sectionEngland did exceptionally well with Jenny Smith and Jo Wells recieving the gold and Lynne Figes and Louise Skidmore recieving the bronze medals.There was just the team left to swim now, we were determined to get the bronze medal. Unfortunately we were pipped to the place again, with exactly the same team marks asthe Swiss but our figures let us down to 4th place.'  JEANNA WHISTANCE

The England team had a near miss in the solo finishing 4th, two duets finished 1st and 3rd (Jenny Smith & Jo Wells and Lynne Figes and Louise Skidmore) and the team whilst matching scores with  the Swiss were pipped to the bronze because of inferior figure marks

From left to right back row: Louise Fishleigh, Jeanna Whistance (Captain), Rebecca Scales, Debby (Team Coach), Jenny Smith, Helen Smith Front Row: Louise Skidmore, Kathlyn Warren, Lynne Figes, Karen Thompson, Josephine Wells, Caroline May (Team Manager)

England Age Group - Wuppertal , Germany 22/24 April

Rushmoor Inter-Club Novice Comp - Farnborough Recreation Centre - 7th May

Figures  RR Only

Group "A"

13. Joanne Bates

16. Heidi Ashcroft

Group "B" over 10yrs

8. Ioni Sullivan

13. Claire Jenkins

Group "B" 10 and under

6. Claire Stainton

9. Kelly Wise

Full results

Southern Counties ASA  Age Group Champs - 23Apr & 14th May


11/12 yrs Figures    -  Sam Luckett

11/12yrs  Solo          -  Sam Luckett

                                     Laura Besley 4th

13/14yrs  Team        -  Reading Royals 'A'


13/14yrs  Duet         -   Di Singh/Naomi Taylor

                                       M.Svensen/L.Macrae 4th

15/16yrs   Figures    -  Julia Svensen

15/16yrs   Solo         -   Julia Svensen


13/14yrs   Team       -   Reading Royals 'B'

Abbey Wood SSC, Barnet Copthall SC, Bramston Concordes SSC, Cetacea Aquatic Art School, Hounslow Borough Synchro Squad, Portsmouth Victoria, Reading Royals SSC, Rushmoor SSC, Seymour SSC, Southend Synchro SC.


21-22 MAY 1988


1. Aude-Severine Magimel(Fra)

2. Catherine Goineau (Can

3. Louise Skidmore (Eng)

4. Veronique Goineau(Can)

5. Jacinthe Brown(Can)

6. Lynn€ Figes (Eng)

9. Helen Smith (Eng)

11. Josephins We€lls (Eng)

22. KarenThompson(Eng)

23. Rebecca Scal€es (Eng)

30. Louise Fishleigh(Eng)

31. Jeanna Whistance(Eng)

38. J€enny Smith (Eng)

43. Kathlyn Warren(Eng)


1. Audi-Severin€ Magimel(Fra)

2. Jacinthe Brown (Can)

3. Lynne Figes (Eng)

4. Rosemaris Reiter (Aut)

5. lsabelle McCann (Can)

6. Helen Kaeser (Sp)

9. Karen Thompson (Eng)


1. J. Brown/V.Goineau (Can)

2. A. Magimel/V.Wautier Fra)

3. L McCann/C. Goineau (Can)

4. L. Figes/L. Skidmore (Eng)

5. L Manable/M. Debodt (Fra)

6. R. Reiter/F. Zimmer (Aut)

7. C. Natter/N. Larbal€tte (Frd)

8. J. Wells/R. Scales (Eng)






5, FRG


           England  Team

Team Medal - England in 3rd

England Age Group International - Stechford, Birmingham, 21-22 May

Junior Europeans - Ede, Netherlands 28th -30th July

On Monday 25th of July the Great Britain Junior Squad flew to Ede in Holland for the JuniorEuropean Championships.

The squad consisted of Kerry Shacklock, Katie Wishart, Sue Richards, Ann Alexanda, Louise Rutter, Collette Geir, Laila Vakil, Kirsty MacAndrew, Vicky Maybury and Sarah Northey with Caroline Francis, Carolyn Wilson and Rosemary Surch as our coaches andShirley May as Team Manager.

Figures brought a marvellous result with Kerry Shacklock (GB) finishing top of the pile and RR's Sarah Northey way up too in 14th.

These performances translated into  medals with KS taking bronze in the Solo,  she and Sarah silver in Duet (left) and the team a bronze. Full results below.

Seoul 88

TEENAGER Joanne Seeburg will have her feet in the clouds and her head firmly below water when she competes in the Games. The 19-yearold synchronised swimmer from •  Reading is hoping to sink to the top as she twirls with the rest of the British team in the Olympic pool.
She said. "Obviously I'm a little bit nervous but I'm itching to get out there and see what I can do" Joanne has been practising syncronised swimming — water ballet — for the last 11 years but it was only introduced as an Olympic sport at the last games in 1984. Joanne goes through her paces in a specially
adapted pool at the bottom of her garden and travels to Crystal Palace in London at weekends for more intensive training. Joanne trains at least 90 minutes a day and fills her spare time with exercises.

Reading Post

British Newspaper Archive


15/16yrs     Louise Rutter    -     Bronze

Julia Svensen, Louise Fishleigh


12 & U        Samantha Luckett    -  4th

15/16yrs     Louise Rutter             -  Silver


12 & U    Samantha Luckett & L. Besley  -   6th

13/14yrs Naomi Taylor & Diana Singh    -   4th

15/16yrs Louise Rutter & Julia Svensen  -   Gold

ln the 13/14 duet event, there was less

than one point between second place and

Naomie Taylor and Diana Singh, Reading

Royals, who came fourth.


12 & U        Reading Royals     -   4th

13/14yrs     Reading Royals     -  Silver

15/16yrs     Reading Royals     -   Gold

Louise Rutter

Something of a record was set when Louise Rutter and Julia

Svensen took the gold medals. They won the Under 12's in their last year, the 13/14 event

in their last year and now the 15/16 title.

National Age Groups Halifax, 24th/25th September

13/14 Team                                                                 15/16 Team

24th Olympiad, Seoul, Korea

26th Sept - 1st Oct

After a week's holiday en-route we arrived at Seoul Airport onSunday 25th September at 19.30 with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.

After three security checks we were finally in the swimming pool and just in front of us were Nikki,Jo and Lian in the water training. We had excellent seats just behind the athletes enclosure and a little later Jo came to see us for a few momements and told us she was swimming the duet in the prelims the next day. In the Synchro Solo prelim Nikki swam extremely well andconfidently to qualify in seventh place for the finals behind Canada, USA, Japan, France,Switzerland and Russia.

Tuesday the Synchro was held in the evening. After three more security checks we are once again in the pool, but this time our seats are onestep away from outside. However we sat back to watch the duets having found out with great difficulty that we were swimming 14th.

The nervous tension developed as we sat through 13 duets, many of them of a very highstandard (Particularly the Americans in our opinion). Then video at the ready, next is Jo and Nikki. Eye glued to the viewfinder, here they come, she's grown, my god it's not Jo! The heart thumps, the blood drains away and everything goes a little out of focus. As the competition ended it became a battle to get to the other side of the pool and find out what had happened. Eventually we reached Janet and she told us Jo had slipped at the pool the previous day and damaged her back. She had been confined to bed with hourly physio, ice packs etc. Nobody could say if she would make it for the figures next day.

The next day, Wednesday we arrived at the pool where Jo was attempting a frontwalkover and it was pretty obvious that things were far from good. After practice Jo came to see us and was in quite alot of pain and extremely upset. She told us she had been advised not toswim but it was up to her. We settled to watch the figures and were surprised when she appeared. Marks disastrous, it was clear that she was struggling and could not hold positions.

After the lunch break we returned for the second set of figures and Janet reported that Jo had been withdrawn on medical advice as they were concerned she could do permanent damage. Dissapointing but in some ways a relief that the pain and suffering was over (and that's just the parents) Nikki and Lian continued to do well. Nikki finishing 13th and Lian having an excellent afternoon to move up to 25th. Yet again very impressed with Caroline Waldo, its like watching figures on video in slow motion. lt must be said it hurt to see on the scoreboard


To summarise is to say it was an unforgettable experience. Being part of it. Meeting Andrea Holland Jo's ex-coach and ex-Reading Royal and now Swiss National Coach. The Canadian and American Parents, the Japanese, French and so many others. Walking around Seoul and rubbing shoulders with the elite of the worlds sportsmen and women. The wonderful Korean people who tried so hard to overcome the vast barriers of language and culture. The incredible security, but all done with a smile and incredible tolerance. The absolutely marvellous Opening and Closing Ceremony that we are all sure will remain in everybodys memory always. But most of all the competitors, four years terribly hard work that has culminated in the largest ever gathering of athletes and nations in history and provided a spectacular that no film or TV company or any other media could themselves create an equal.

We were proud to be there.

New Olympic Groupies

Ena & Max Seeburg

...... and a judges eye view fromGB Judge Joan Williams

Jo and Nicola  checking well wisher's messages

The Team. with Janet Holdstock and Carolyn Wilson

Jo Seeburg with fellow athletes Nicola Shearn (Bristol Central) and Lian Goodwin (Southport)  at the opening ceremony.

RR's Joanne Seeburg was selected in a team of three to swim Duet at the 1988 Olympics.

The Olympic competition was Solo and Duet only. GB finishing 6th in the Solo and 7th in the Duet. Below is what was titled "A Spectator's View"  of events.....

I arrived in Seoul on the Friday. It still seemed unreal - impossible that I should be at the OLYMPICS! But there I was, lined up to go to judge the solo preliminaries; the first synchro event so no chance to have a practice by watching someoneelse judge first! So, - Monday evening, 18 solos, all good.  lt was good to see Nikki swim so well, looking strong and confident.

Tuesday evening, 15 duets, a chance to enjoy watching high level competition. Nikki and Lian had us sitting on the edge of our seats,willing them on. They looked good together, and their marks reflected that.

Wednesday morning, figure competition. Group 3; I'm on panel 2, judge number 5. We've had a chance to discuss the figures, so it is straight on with the work. First figure Barracuda, 46 competitors. Later, Wednesday late afternoon, second figure, spiral; 45 competitors; poor Jo!

Friday morning, solo finals; back to work. Eight very good routines -how do you differentiate between them? Carolyn Waldo and Tracy Ruiz-Conforto both swam so well they were almost perfect. Mikako Kotani's routine was beautiful. Nikki again swam well, and her marks were betterthan in the prelims. lt's both exciting and nerve-racking to be involved injudging at this level.

Saturday morning, duet final; no work today! The Josephson's routine (HERE) was given 4 10's, and was certainly the best duet I have ever watched,but the Waldo/Cameron duet was not far behind. Nikki and Lian swambetter than in the prelims, looking slick and polished. Good to see theirmarks higher too.

The evening was taken up with a reception hosted by the 'GoodwillGames' in a Korean restaurant - by now I've become more adept with the chopsticks so had plenty to eat. . . Chance to speak to everyone,and say goodbye. Hope to see many again at some event, somewherein the world, sometime. . . Sad to be going, but what a fantastic experience.

Joan Williams

Southern Counties Championships

Saturday 17th October


1. Kerry Shacktock R

2. Sarah Northey RR

3. Emma Clark RR

4. Laila Vakil R

5. Collette Geier HB

6. Rebekah Taylor PV

7. Louise Rutter RR

8. Victoria Maybury RR

9. Samantha Allen RR

10. Susie Vockins RR

Solos - A. C. Price Trophy

1. Kerry Shacklock R

2. Emma Clark RR

3.. Sarah Northey RR

4. Laila Vakil R

5. Collette Geier HB

6. Rebekah Taylor PV

7. Louise Rutter RR

8. Samantha Allen RR

9 Victoria Maybury RR

10. Joanne Preston BC

Junlor Championship - Yvonne Price Trophy

1. Laila Vakil

2. Collette Geier

3. Louise Rutter



1. S. Northey/E. Clark RR

2. J. Prestor/C. Pember BC

3. L. Rutter/J. Svenson RR

4. L. Vakil/J. Wells R

5. L. Webster/G. Wigley R

6. K. Warren/R. Taylor PV

7. L. Fishleigh/H. Smith RR

8. L. Vakil/N. Swanscott R

9. C. Geier/J Moreau HB

10. L. Marshall/C. Hedge S

Teams - Edward Marples Trophy






14th National Synchro Championships

6th November, Southampton


Sarah Northey       -          4th

Emma Clark, Joanne Luckett, Samantha Allen, Victoria Maybury, Louise Rutter


Sarah Northey & Emma Clark      -   Silver

Louise Rutter & Julia Svensen

Team (Redwood Trophy)

Reading Royals            -          Silver

Gallery & Other things


1989 will bring great change in Synchro. FINA will introduce the 2 mark system for routines with marks being given for Artistic Impression and Technical Merit.

During the Canadian Judges Conference we spent 4 days talking about little else and the conclusion was it would be difficult. Ideally we would like two panels, one for AI and the other TM although it was a suggestion (not serious) that the swimmers swam the routine twice so that judges could look at each aspect in turn.

The USA have always used this judging system. It will be up to the ASA and Districts to introduce the system when it is felt everyone is ready to cope. The USA have founfd that the new judging system is bringing about an enormous change in the structure and choreography of routines.

As Kevin Cottan, choreographer for the closing ceremony of the Calgary Winter Games said, if we want synchro recognised we've got to make it more appealing. Get rid of awful music choices and the awful plastic smiles.

Change number also must come in our judge training and choice. After all competitions in Canada and the USA judges are given a critical analysis of their performance. Such analysis can only be good for getting rid of obvious bias, judges changing marks after looking at other judges' scores and judges 'falling asleep'.


Junior ASA and 15/16yrs National Age Group Champion

SYNCHRO WORLD had reached  its 5th Year and editor Jenny Gray celebrated with a new photo to accompany her "Letter from the Editor" column. Reflecting on the year (extract)........

"Perhaps it is also a good time to consider our sport and consider how we

can improve our own image. I have heard people muttering we must swim

routines in black costumes, goggles and white caps. /s fhis the answer? I'm

not sure that it is. I am sure that we must consider content of routines and

ensure that we keep the gymnastic skill element as high as possible and not

resort to aquatic art and purely interpreting the words of a song. At one time

no words were used and one could truely say the music was used. This is

no longer the case. Several routines at the National Age-Groups relied very

heavily on words and would have been nothing without them. I personally

consider such routines have a place in an aquatic show but not in

competitions. I am sure (by the marks given) not all agree but perhaps you

have comments. We'll certainly be pleased to hear them."

Gallery & Other things

Siobhan Goodchild & Rachel Watmore on the podium for 3rd at the ESSA National Schools Championships competition (Duet) The RR pair were swimming for Highdown School, Reading.

Reading Royals A-Team taken  in April 2001

Jo Hooper, Jen Murtagh, Katie Ford, Abi Moore, Katie Hooper

              Chloe Huggins, Kelly-Anne Wise, Claire Butler

GB Seniors Duet at the French Open)left).  Caroline Slssingar and Abi Moore of Reading Royals and the pair again (right) with other squad member Kerry Hussey. Duet girls in their Free costumes.