About synchronised swimming

So what exactly is synchronised swimming? Can anyone have a go or do you need to be a really good swimmer and be able to hold your breath for ages?

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Genevieve's training schedule

It takes lots of dedication, skill and hard work to get to the top in synchronised swimming. How does Genevieve combine studying for her A-levels as well as all those hours in the pool and out of the pool every day?

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About Genevieve

Read more about Genevieve Randall, her goals and the hard work involved in reaching those. This year has been amazing so far. Read more about Genevieve qualifying for Japan Open and Baku in the news section of this website.

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Surgery

Day 1: After 130+ hours of S&C, many Physio appointments, 3 physiology sessions a week, 1 sports massage a week it’s time to go head down to theatre- road to recovery. Everything went well and I can’t even remember going under.

My first thoughts when I woke up were wow my lips are dry, why am I crying, this hurts and I feel extremely odd (Can thank the drugs for that.) In the recovery ward I vaguely remember being told to drink a cup of water and for some odd reason I believed that drinking water meant I couldn’t breathe, so as I sipped away at my drink, holding my breathe my SATS were slowly dropping down until the machine started going crazy and the recovery nurses hurried my way; least to say they were surprised as this was a first for them. 4 hours later and back in my hospital room.

Later that day I had the surgeon (professor Sion Glyn-Jones) visit me with my post operative report, he showed me the photos from inside my hip joint and explained that despite a decent sized tear shown on the MRI pre-op it was almost more than double the size when they actually got in there. All I can say is what an amazing positive surgeon!

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Day 2: Today I ache everywhere!! I’m off the strong pain medication and a bit more with it. I met the hospital Physio however my leg is still numb and just wouldn’t cooperate so just a few basic leg extension exercises for now. He said we’d try walking with crutches later today as I’m only allowed home if I can get down a few steps. A few hours later, 6 hours behind schedule I did it, very slow and only 50% weight bearing but I managed a short walk around the ward. A paper bag filled with codeine, paracetamol, naproxen, some other stuff and a timetable of when this should be all taken was handed over by my wonderful nurse as its home time!!

Day 3: So I spent last night in a bed set up for me downstairs in the living room to avoid the challenging task of our winding staircase. Today was a pill popping tiring day. Despite the physio exercises I spent the day revising in bed, writing to do lists and using the wonderful machine that is the game ready. The game ready is a machine attached to a wrap that goes around my hip and pumps freezing cold water into the wrap to reduce swelling, much better than a bag of pees.

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Day 5: Back at outpatients having the incisions checked out. I had a very understanding South African nurse. She changed my dressing and cleaned my steri-strips as wound was looking pretty good and she didn’t want to interfere with the natural healing process! I still have no feeling in my quad and the inflammation has gone down hugely however I’m feeling quite sore right now. To aid my Recovery and get my range of motion back I have stated using a continual passive movement machine (CPM.)

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Day 9: So happy with how my hip is progressing. First Physio appointment with my private physio Katherine Tomkees this morning and I have some more exercises to do! Despite these dizzy fainting spells I keep getting everything is going in the right direction!

Day 12: Today I had my first physio appointment at the hospital with Mark; stretching, muscular release, gate analysis and 5 minutes on the indoor bike to avoid the scar tissue from forming. I also had the pleasure of having my stitches removed. If they had told me that’s what they were going to do, I would have stayed at home, but they lied… They were ‘just going to trim them.’ Despite the discomfort during this, I was in ore of what an amazing job the surgeons had done, the incisions looked great. 7 days until I can have a proper wash.

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Day 19: Double booked myself. Physio with Katherine this morning, the session was exercise based and we decided that my goals for the rest of the month are balance, range of movement and walking. Second physio appointment with mark; I need to get walking. The session consisted of some very much-needed release in my neglected back and some vicious but necessary hip stretches. The 2 physio appointments complimented each other very well.

Day 20: The most I’ve done since the op rehab wise, I managed a 10 minute cycle on the bike and 30 minutes worth of physio exercises. Soon after I realised it was slightly too much so I went straight to using the game ready. My physiotherapist told me that some days you will push yourself that little bit too much but as long as you have made note of what you did exactly then its fine because you’ll learn and find the right balance.

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Day 21: Three weeks today since surgery. Everything is going to plan and today I had a very much needed massage on my back, It seems to have been slightly neglected.

A set up for a come back

I’ve been rehabbing now for 4 months at oxford Brookes TASS performance gym and at the english institute of sport ( the intensive rehab unit.) From this I have gained much more strength and improved the stability of my hip but none the less I am contemplating surgery later this month to repair the labral tear. This will be followed by a minimum of five months of rehab. I am planning on returning to my sport, synchronised swimming in Autumn time.

Every setback is a setup for a comeback

Update March 2016

It’s been a really exciting year with training going well and lots of opportunities to work with the duet squad in preparation for Rio qualification but unfortunately training for me has been on hold for the past few weeks with an injury which has necessitated some investigations, a two weeks period of assessment and strengthening at the English Institute of Sport Intensive Rehabilitation Unit and follow up at the Oxford Brookes TASS hub. This now means that for the time being my goal to compete at the Olympic games is on hold as far as Rio is concerned and I must concentrate on recovery with the help of the TASS team at Brookes and my family. This has left me feeling disappointed but I’m now coming to terms with it all. I know that as an athlete you are vulnerable to injury and I’ve had a few injuries over the past 3 years of full time training. Despite having pushed through previous injuries I know that in the long term I need to take the advice I’m being given and focus on building strength in preparation for possible surgery. I’ve had an amazing time over the past 3 years having been one of the youngest athletes to be selected to the High Performance Centre in 2013 by former Director, Biz Price; making my senior GBR debut in solo as the youngest competitor at the LEN European Championships in Berlin in 2014 as well as representing GBR in the duet at the French Open 2014, Japan Open 2015, FINA World Championships 2015, and at the inaugural European Games out in Baku in 2015 in solo, duet and team events. I am extremely proud to have been awarded an International Olympic Solidarity Athlete Scholarship to facilitate training for the current Rio cycle, and to have my selection to the qualification event out in Rio confirmed, even though I wasn’t able to take part due to the injury. I know that when I’m fully recovered I’m still young enough to do another Olympic cycle and that I haven’t yet reached my peak as an athlete. In the next 6 months I’m looking forward to maintaining my training both at club and locally, and focusing on making a full recovery – synchronised swimming is my passion and I am confident that getting over this injury will make me more focused and determined to continue in the sport. Thanks to all of you who’ve sent messages of support and got in touch over recent weeks – I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve had over the past years particularly from my coaches and sponsors, and everyone who has done their bit to help me along the way. I’m so pleased that GBR have qualified a duet and proud to have been part of the duet squad – lets go GB!

ASA Aquatics Awards to celebrate elite athletes across all disciplines

6 November 2015

It has been an incredible year for aquatic sports and the ASA Aquatics Awards 2015 will for the first time include elite winners across all disciplines.

Swimming and Diving celebrated their best ever performance at a FINA World Championships this year while the British Para-swimming team won an impressive 10 gold medals the IPC World Championships in Glasgow.

There was also major international medal success for our junior athletes at the European Games, World Junior Championships and Commonwealth Youth Games.

After some impressive performances across the four events, England Talent synchronised swimmers ended their 2014/15 season with a fifth place finish at the 2015 Mediterranean Cup in Ostia. British Duet pair Jodie Cowie and Genevieve Randall had their best performance at a major competition. They finished 24th in the World Championship Duet Free prelims.

Click here to view the shortlisted finalists for our participation awards.Water Polo continued to make waves in 2015 with strong performances in tournaments across Europe. The English Schools Swimming Association (ESSA) men’s water polo team took an emphatic victory at the Exiles International Tournament in Malta while England’s U17 women’s team sealed a top five finish at the EU Nations Cup, with a sensational victory over Ireland.

The country’s top Masters swimmers and synchronised swimmers ended their World Championships campaign with an impressive medal haul while the Masters diving trio landed a hat-trick of medals in Kazan, Russia.

Alongside Performance Athlete of the Year Awards across all disciplines, England Programmes, the ASA’s talent pathway scheme, will recognise their Athlete of the Year for each discipline.

Performance sport awards will also be presented to the ASA England Programmes Coach of the Year and Performance Programme of the Year.

The awards will also recognise the contribution of those who are not in the spotlight but who work behind the scenes to achieve their goals:

  • The ESSA Dolphin Award will be presented to a school who has best supported the ASA Learn to Swim Framework, and run a successful programme to help their pupils become swimmers before moving to the secondary stage of education.
  • The David Sparkes Innovation Award will celebrate the work of an individual or group who have made an exciting contribution to aquatics over the past 12 months, from pool design to methods of training, energy saving, Learn to Swim, new technology or increases in aquatic participation.
  • The prestigious Services to Aquatics award will celebrate an individual who has gone above and beyond within the aquatics community and without whom the sport could not continue to run.

Winners will be announced at the ceremony held at the Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa, on 14 November.

Blog: October 2015

It’s been an amazing few months having competed in Tech and Free duet at the Japan Open in June and made the finals, and then on to the European Games and World Championships in Kazan. The European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan was my first experience of a multi-sport event and a selection first for me representing Team GBR.  Synchro kicked off the aquatic events and it was very exciting to be in at the start of the bigger competition. We were really pleased to make the finals in the duet and team events and I was very pleased with my solo swim in which I was placed 10th before the Figure competition – I narrowly missed qualifying for the final but was pleased to be able pre-swim before the start of the formal final. My solo was new chorography and I learned a lot from the feedback so that I could go away from the competition and work on some areas of the routine; It was an exhausting time with 7 competition swims in total over the course of the competition.  We managed to improve on our scores in the final events of team and duet and had really positive feedback about our performances

The FINA World Championships were held in Kazan, Russia in August and the focus for the competition was on the duet and competing in Tech and Free.  The pool was stunning and the size of the competition was overwhelming. It was great to be able to watch the mixed routines and cheer the competitors on and know that we were making history out in Kazan. We were pleased with our duet routines and enjoyed meeting our Russian heroes, Romashina and Ishenko who gave a stunning performance in their duet finals.  With over 38 countries competing we were satisfied with our 24 place finish but very aware too that we have a lot of work to do if we are to be fully prepared to qualify out in Rio in March next year.

After a couple of weeks of holiday and home training I joined one of Andrea Fuentes (Spanish Olympic athlete who holds the record for the most gold medals in our sport now coaching) camps which was being held not far from where I live to do some solo work with her – it was great to meet so many athletes from all over the world. In September the duet began work on new choreography for the Olympic Qualification event with Biz Price and it feels like we have really set out on the ‘Road to Rio’. We began with an intense few days with Biz and then moved on to Mallorca to work with Andrea Fuentes; Andrea is very inspiring and motivating and it is a privilige to be coached by her. We even managed some rest time at the beach practicing our surf moves between intensive training sessions on land and in the pool.

Before flying out to Mallorca I took part and was successful in securing a place in the Senior team at the trial event which is a huge relief and I will continue to train and compete in solo and duet this season. We have also been working with an ASA Physio and Nutritionist since we’ve been back and they will be helping us to stay injury free and ensure we eat well to optimize our performance in the pool.

In September I was really pleased to hear that I had been awarded a Talented Athlete Scholarship (TASS) from Sport England – these awards are designed to provide young athletes with a range of services including strength and conditioning and life style advice etc and I will be based at the Oxford Brookes hub along with 20 other athletes from a range of sporting disciplines. Along with my duet partner, I have also been nominated and awarded the ASA Performance Athlete of the year award. The award will be presented at a presentation dinner on 14 Nov and ‘recognises an English athlete who has produced outstanding international results during the last 12 months. The individual will be an excellent ambassador for the sport and always conducts themselves in a manner befitting of a professional athlete’.

Performance Athlete of the Year Award

Genevieve, along with her duet partner, has been awarded the ASA Performance Athlete of the year award. The award will be presented at a presentation dinner on 14 Nov 2015 at the Royal Pump Rooms in Bath, Leamington Spa.

The selection is based on the following criteria: The award recognises an English athlete who has produced outstanding international results during the last 12 months. The individual will be an excellent ambassador for the sport and always conducts themselves in a manner befitting of a professional athlete.

The ASA Aquatics Awards 2015 will for the first time recognise participants across the entire ASA pathway from youngsters learning to swim through to our elite athletes on the international stage, and all those whose continued dedication ensures the smooth running of the sport. The ceremony will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of all those from across the aquatics community.

Improvement for Randall & Cowie

Genevieve Randall and Jodie Cowie secured a top 25 finish in the Duet Technical prelims at the Kazan 2015 World Championships in Russia.

The British 17-year olds, who are competing at their first World Championship as a Duet pair, scored 74.6512 for their routine, comprising of 22.1 for execution, 22.6 for impression and 29.9512 for their performance of the required elements.

Russia’s Olympic and defending world champions Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina lead qualifiers on 94.5715 while Austria’s European Games silver medallists Anna-Maria Alexandri and Eirini Alexandri bagged the final qualification place in 12th on 82.3507.

But having improved two marks on their Duet Tech score of 72.1442 which saw Randall and Cowie finish 14th at last year’s European Championships in Berlin, coach Katie Dawkins insisted it was a positive result for the British swimmers.

Read more by clicking here.

Support women in sport ambition

Click on this link to go to the swimming.org website to read article or read on…

British Swimming claims a report aimed at encouraging more women to become involved in sport is ignoring two key sports capable of delivering against its objectives.

Minister for Sport Helen Grant welcomed the publication of the Government’s Women and Sport Advisory Board report this week which outlined progress made in women’s involvement in sport over the past 18 months.

However, British Swimming Chief Executive David Sparkes feels recommendations going forward should include support for team sports such as women’s water polo and synchronised swimming both of which saw participation figures rise in the lead up to and post London 2012 Olympics.

“We all want to see more women involved in sport at every level and this week’s report is very encouraging with progress being made,” said Sparkes. “However, I believe there is a lot more we can do and team sports such as synchro and water polo can help to achieve the overall objectives.

“These are two sports that really appeal to women and this is backed up by the participation increases around the London 2012 Olympics. Despite this, there is currently no funding in place to support these sports and to grow the numbers of women involved even further.

“Both are sports that are attractive to women and we have a Minister that claims she wants to see more women in sport. These team sports need support otherwise we will be denying a generation of young girls the opportunity to reach the top of their sport and represent their country.”

Sparkes also believes the sports are perfectly positioned to deliver against wider objectives unveiled this week by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

“Both synchro and water polo are well placed to assist in achieving wider social goals, as highlighted this week, as well as driving up participation numbers,” said Sparkes.

“They are two very important team sports that can provide many important benefits – from education to developing personalities; from team work in young people through to providing new life skills and better health for older people.

“We need the right support now within these sports if we are to collectively achieve these participation and social aims. The sports are ready to deliver on the objectives outlined this week but we need the Secretary of State and the Minister to show us they are committed to this cause by backing the sports.”

GBR synchronised swimmer Genevieve Randall also believes the sports need additional support so they can play a vital role in attracting women into sport.

“In a world that’s too often dominated by sport for all of the wrong reasons, synchronised swimmers, through their hard work and dedication, offer the chance of real role models for young women and therefore should be utilised to drive participation amongst women,” said Randall.

“The down side of being part of a women’s team is that there’s not much public money for team sports in general and particularly for women’s team sports, and this needs to change if we are to continue to attract women to sport through the creation of awareness as well as role models.”

Randall wants to use her own experiences of the sport to help attract even greater numbers by informing people of its benefits and opportunities.

“It’s been fantastic for me to be part of a sport which has seen a growing increase in participation. There are so many girls now taking part in development competitions while older women come into the sport for the first time to use synchro as a way of maintaining fitness and having fun,” said Randall.

“The great thing about synchro is that it’s not only demanding in terms of sporting prowess but manages to combine that with glamour which is part of its huge draw. What we need is the right support to make more women aware of the benefits.

Randall believes synchro is unique as a sport due to the fact it has traditionally attracted women but is now also attracting men.

“I’m proud to be part of one of only two all female Olympic sports but at the same time it’s exciting that the mixed duet has been introduced as an event at World Championships next year. This shows just how unique synchro is in that it has never suffered from the ‘piggy-back’ effect where the sport has grown as a development of the men’s sport like rugby and football has,” said Randall.

“As far as synchro is concerned we have men following women into sport and men discovering what a great sport synchro is. Perhaps opening synchro up to men will help to promote the sport to a greater number of people while encouraging greater numbers of women.”

Teenager shooting for 2016 olympic glory

A King Alfred’s Academy schoolgirl has her sights firmly set on the Rio 2016 Olympics.

And Genevieve Randall, 17, is ready for the battle to get there – to compete in synchronised swimming against the best in the world.

On Monday Genevieve, from Faringdon, flew back from a successful weekend in Istanbul with the Great Britain junior team which saw them reach qualification standards for the 2015 European Games in Baku.

On the same day the International Olympic Committee announced the teenager had won an Olympic ‘solidarity’ grant to help her and her duet partner make it to Rio 2016.

Genevieve said: “It is scary thinking about the Olympics – it should be, otherwise it wouldn’t be a big enough dream. But it is cool to aim for and very motivating.

“Ever since I started synchro I wanted to do well – I don’t really settle for doing things half-heartedly.

“I have a gymnastics and dance background and saw something about it.

“It looked really different and combined gymnastics which I really enjoy.”

Genevieve joined Witney and District Synchronised Swimming Club aged 10 after seeing a TV show on the sport.

Now competing at international level, she faces a daily three-hour round trip to Aldershot Garrison Sports Centre for training with duet partners  Jodie Cowie, 17 from Kent, and Emma Critchley, 16 from Faringdon.

Click here to read more about Genevieve in The Oxfordshire Guardian.