Reading Royals

Through the Year 1996


GB Qualification - Sydney 2000

Southern Counties-

Crystal Palace, 11th Feb

IN another good performance, Reading Royals came away with two gold one silver and one bronze medal at the Crystal Palace Sports Centre last Sunday. The Reading Synchro Club was successful equally in both the 13/14 and 15/16 categories, at last Sunday's Southern Counties Age Group Championships. Twelve clubs from London and the South competed in this annual event......

(READING CHRONICLE 16/02/1996. Full articles - clickable.

National Age Groups -  Crawley 9th & 10th March


13/14rs    Figures   - Hannah Ford

13/14yrs   Solo         - Joanne Hooper


15/16yrs  Duet    -  Michelle Saunders & Krestina Hayes

Also noted (ex teams) :-

12&under  - Kirsty Johnson, Chloe Huggins,  Emma Beasley

13/14yrs    -  Claire Butler, Sarah Rust

15/16yrs    -  Janna Callan, Jennifer Murtagh, Abi Moore, Joanne Ford,


13/14 Duet            - Hannah Ford & Katie Ford

12 & Under Team  - Reading Royals

13/14yrs    Team  - Reading Royals

15/16yrs    Team  - Reading Royals

Images from the day on the clickable slider below. Controls on mouseover

Competing Clubs:- Bristol Central, City of Birmingham, Ealing, Ferndown Wessex, Kippax Kippers, Portmouth Victoria, Rugby, Southport, Walsall, Bexley, Calne Alpha Four, Exeter, Gateshead & Whickham, Potters Bar, Reading Royals, Rushmoor, Trafford.

Inter-District, April, Crystal Palace

Michelle Saunders, Kelly Wise, Abi Moore, Amy Forster, Jana Callan, Kate Coupar

Reading were drawn in Group 1 of this inter-club points competition and duly finished top in their group and with the most points overall. No figures!

Synchro World Competition

Nuneaton  4th May

Squad pictures and trophies below and bottom right, more images from the day on the slider.


Junior Solo   - Jana Callan 

Senior Solo  -  Emily Duerden 

Novice Duet  -  Leanne Harris & Colette Grant   

Junior Duet   -   Michelle Saunders & Jennifer Murtagh

Senior Duet   -   Kelly Wise & Kate Coupar 

Junior Team  - Reading Royals 

Senior Team  - Reading Royals

Just one RR swimmer in the GB team in Zurich. Katie Hooper swam 2nd Duet in the prelims and in the Team which ranked 6th as did tht GB Team in the overall points competition.

Europa Synchro Cup ' A'

Zurich, 16th-19th May

Katie H on a lift

"Flexibility throughout Europe has lrnproved and we could notfail to be impressed by the French soloist and the Italian split boost which certainly brought tears to the eyes.

The British team swimming to rnuslc from the Lion King, swam very well. The synchronlzation was good, but lacked some of the originality of other tearns. The majority of the swimmers were swimming for the tirst time in a senior GB Tearn andthey all gave a very creditable perforrnance.

The Zurich event was the first of the build up for Squad 2000 and the girls showed that they have worked hard at camp and

have certainly gelled as a tearn. !t is also very apparent that every country is also working very hard and if we hope to catch up or even stay still, then we have to work even harder to improve flexibility, strength and precision of movement. Thls can only come from the work wlthin the clubs. It was a most exciting event. The world synchro scene !s certainly moving fast". JENNY GRAY

Current GB squad, seen here with GB Olympian Kriss Akabusi at their TV appearance on Record Breakers

Berks & South Bucks Novice Competition - Chiltern Pools, Amersham, 18th May

Berks & South Bucks, October, Amersham

British Newspaper Archive

1996 was not the most successful Nationals ever.

Best performance was in Team where we picked up a very good Silver, but this was the club's only medal.

Best in Figures and Solo was Katie Hooper but it was she and Emily Duerden next closest to a medal finishing 4th in Duet.

Walkthrough on the streets of Wigan! Some nice, unusual images of A-team courtesy of the camera of Jon Hooper.

National Championships - Wigan, 2nd/3rd November

The slider to the right contains more images from the day, swim and more of the unusual with the post-swim. All clickable.

Evening Post image pre-competition -taken at Rivermead.

British Newspaper Archive

"The lights come up, the music begins and Reading Royals Synchronised Swimming Club launches into its 'space' theme for the 1996 Christmas Show....."

Christmas Show - Central Pool

Gallery & other things

SWIMMER of the MONTH - Chronicle 



Extract here from a longish article by the 25 year top Canadian Coach who guided the  1996 Canadian Olympic synchro team to a silver medal finish in Atlanta and a bronze medal 4 years later  in Sydney 2000.

"Once the initial choreography is completed, it is time to become analytical about the progress of the programme to day. This can be a very difficult transition for anyone to make,for having been completely immersed in a creative process, it is now hard to stand back and objectively analyze the finished product. At this time it is especially important to receive feedback from judges, coaches, and spectators as you now need a new audience to review your performance. From their reaction and their input you will know if the concept, music, story and movements are creating the total desired package. Further to this, if you have a routine that appeals to people on an emotional level, it will be apparent even at this early stage of development. Because most coaches are perfection oriented, this personality trait often makes them hesitant to receive feedback onroutines that are in their roughest form. But, GO FOR lT . . . as this will be very beneficial interms of allowing you to reach your end goal!

"Excellence is not an act but a habit"

Another element of artistic impression, closely connected with music interpretation, is manner of presentation. I have often heard others define manner of presentation as how welt you sell your product. This is a very appropriate comparison when the objectives in this area include having total command and being convincing in your delivery to the audience.

One very important aspect of manner of presentation, is employing total facial expression. Unlike figure skating and dance.,our athletes perform largely from water level and up, and therefore expression is a critical element. I remember one Canadian judge, well respected for her artistic flare and knowledge of music, sharing her thoughts with me about the importance of developing manner of presentation in our athletes. Her message was simply that, training the muscles in the face is no different than training synchronization to be automatic. Both skills require a great deal of repetition in order to become spontaneous under pressure. As coaches, it is always our intent to train our athletes to present fully during their routine practise sessions, but often we tend to neglect this area as we become more focused on other aspects. However, we must be clear that we cannot expect the athletes to have total command of a performance if we do not train this area on a daily basis. At the same time, the more comfortable the athletes are in a performance situation, the greater the level of refinement we can expect in the area of manner of presentation." SHEILAGH CROXON - FINA Seminar 17/01/1996

Canadian Synchro at this time was at a high having just provided the 1988 and 1992 World Solo Champions in Carolyn Waldo and Sylvie Frechette (joint). You would expect a link here to one or the other but frankly the routines on You Tube are of very average quality (the film not the swims!) Instead we will do the unheard of and link to the USA FreeTeam Gold medal swim in Atlanta 1996. Plenty of expression and excitement here although for obvious reasons much of it post swim and from the 'home' commentators during. Worth a look - HERE

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.