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Aussie Flora and fauna inspire synchro routines for Rio

9 July 2016

SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING: The Australian synchronised swimming team have been working tirelessly on their routines for the Rio Olympic Games. Their extreme athleticism is combined with a unique element that will have the world talking about what happens in Australian waters.

The nine athletes selected today include eight rookies and London 2012 Olympian Bianca Hammett, who will captain the Team.

“It’s a relief for the Team to be announced. After London the whole Team, except for myself retired, I’m so thankful I’ve made it again,” Hammett said, with 27 days to go until the Opening Ceremony.

At London they performed to an AC/DC medley. At Rio, the crowd will be treated to a display honouring Australia's native fauna in one routine, with the athletes keen to showcase one of Australia’s most famous animals, the crocodile.

Hammett said the Team is keen to showcase Australia’s greatest tourist attractions including the Great Barrier Reef.

“For the team free routine, an Australian outback theme has been chosen which takes us on a journey through the unique flora and fauna of our land. We wanted showcase a routine that displays Australia's natural beauty and diverse environments.”

As an eight-year-old Hammett read an advertisement in the newspaper for synchronised swimming. She went on to make her Olympic debut four years ago. Since then she’s gone to help the Team qualify for the Beijing 2008 Games, then finish eighth in the Team event four years ago.

“Going into Rio as the Captain is exciting and a challenge. I’ve got the most experience in the Team so I feel I can pass on my knowledge this way.”

Becoming a dual Olympian at the Games is an honour well deserved after years of training for hours in the gym and pool.

“When we’re in camp we’re training for six hours in the pool and then two hours on land and then there’s meetings and video reviewing. In the last six months the camps have increased, going in between Canberra and Perth. We’ve been training together all the time. It’s tough being away from home but it’s so beneficial being together for the sport.”

All nine athletes will combine for the Team event; Technical and Free routines. And two for the Duet; Technical and Free.

After winning junior Solo and Figures events in 2010 and 2012 for New Zealand, Rose Stackpole will represent Australia in Brazil in the duet, alongside Queenslander Nikita Pablo.

Joining Pablo and Stackpole as rookies at the Games will be Danielle Kettlewell.

Born in Vancouver, Canada but with parents from Sydney, 23-year-old Kettlewell jumped on the chance to make her Olympic debut in the green and gold.

“At the end of 2013 I had the opportunity to move over (to Australia) with the hope of going to Rio. I picked up my whole life and moved to Perth,” she said.

“It’s an unbelievable experience. Being selected is more of a feeling than anything else, I feel like my heart swells in pride. I’m so unbelievably proud to represent Australia at the Olympics.”

She said the Team has worked to build a strong culture which will ultimately set them in good stead to put on a show in Rio.

“The Team has been together as a group for a while and we have great friendships which I think has made us stronger in the pool and an advantage moving into Rio.”

Australia’s best finish at the Games in the Team event was seventh at Beijing 2008. For the Duet 

The best placing by an Australian duet was 13th at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and 16th in Sydney, when the new modern rules had been introduced. 

ANNIE KEARNEY
olympics.com.au

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