Last week, we spotted Clara, Year 10, and her father (her coach) using our School pool to train for her fascinating sport of synchronised swimming. We were incredibly impressed with her skills and sat down with her to find out more:
Tell us about Synchronised Swimming:
“It’s like gymnastics or dance, but you have to hold your breath underwater. It’s really difficult. The longest I have held my breath for is two lengths of a pool, so 50 metres… In routines, you have to go underwater for a very long time while moving your legs and concentrating on everything at the same time.”
“I perform in groups with my club, but I also duet with my best friend… It’s mostly leg work and arm work. There are a lot of lifts and pushing yourself out of the pool – the more of your chest is out of the water, the more points you get.”
What inspired you to start?
“When I was seven, I watched a family friend training in the pool. I thought it looked like fun, so I decided to learn. I started in 2016 when my best friend and I joined a club together. I was already a strong swimmer, but it was hard learning to hold my breath for a long time.”
“My dad became really interested in the sport and two or three years later was inspired to start coaching. He is now a coach at our club and one of the best judges in the country. It’s weird when he judges me in competitions, but seeing him makes me smile, and as that gets you more points, it’s great!”
What is the most difficult part of the sport?
“The hardest part is remembering the routines, which can be very complicated, and holding your breath. The routines are 3-3.5 minutes long, and your head is under the water for most of that time, while moving your legs in the air. My friend did a 3-minute routine and was only out of the water, breathing, for 50 seconds.”
What achievements you are most proud of?
“We competed in Nationals two years in a row and my group were awarded bronze out of lots of other groups. With my club, I compete in Kent competitions with her club, and I have been duetting with my best friend for the last 5 years. Last year we were awarded Gold in the Combo Cup.”
Is Cobham Hall’s pool a good place to practise?
“Our club pool is only 2m deep, and for lifts we need it to be 3m, so the school pool is easier to practise in. I first found out about Cobham Hall when I came to a synchro camp here, which runs every spring and summer. I loved the look of the school, so I applied and moved here in Year 8 because of that. I’ve been coming to Cobham Camp for the last six or seven years and will be here this year, too.”
What is your favourite part about swimming?
“My favourite bit is doing the routines with my friends. We concentrate but also mess around and have fun. Our coach joins in too, it’s not always serious it’s also fun. But we also work very hard and want to achieve gold.”
“I also make a lot of friends at all the clubs and competitions; I have made so many friends for life. It’s easy to make friends at these places because we all have synchro in common.”
What are your future swimming ambitions?
“I would like to start training for my Master’s now that I have finished Grade 5, which is the highest level you can get to. The Master’s is for more experienced and older swimmers. You have to be over 18 to do it, but I can start training now. I would also like to become a coach, lots of the older, more experienced swimmers come to the club to help teach the younger ones, I want to do this and pass on advice and experience”
“Maybe next year I will think about applying for Junior GB, but this is very hard and a lot of work”
Our thanks to Clara for talking to us about her sport. We look forward to following her Synchronised Swimming journey and celebrating her future accomplishments.