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
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
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
Southern Counties ASA Age Group Champs - 23Apr & 14th May
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.
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.
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
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
55. SEEBURG J GBR NO SCORE
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.
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
1. READING ROYALS S.S.C.
2. BARNET COPTHALL S.C.
3. RUSHMOOR S.S.C.
4. AEBEY WOOD S.S.C.
5. HOUNSLOW BOROUGH S.S,C.
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
CHANGE IN 1989
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'.
COLLETTE GEIER - Hounslow
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.