Team Bath Synchro Club win first-ever National medal as plans unveiled for unique and self-sustainable future
Star swimmer and Great Britain squad member Ilaria Brandimarte won the first major medal of Team Bath Synchronised Swimming Club’s short history at the 2017 National Championships in late April as the club revealed its plans for leading the light in UK synchronised swimming.
Brandimarte, who is also chairwoman of Team Bath Synchro Club, claimed bronze in the tech solo event with an “elegant” performance to contemporary Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi’s ‘Experience’.
The medal was the Italy-born swimmer’s second in three years in the tech solo event, adding to the gold she won at the 2015 Championships.
“It’s good to bring a medal home for Team Bath,” Brandimarte said. “We’re a little disappointed with the results, but we know where the problems lie and we can now start working on them in the future.
“It was our first appearance at the National Championships as a club and hopefully this is the start of what we want to ultimately achieve – to be the best at the top level.”
Bold ambitions for a club only established in the latter half of 2016, but Brandimarte believes the club is taking the right steps in developing one of the most self-sustainable club programmes in UK synchro.
“By the end of June 2017, we are hoping to apply to Sport England for support,” she continued. “The idea is to not only have masters and university levels at the club, but also a youth programme which would establish links with local schools and leisure centres and develop a programme which stretches from youth level all the way up to the university and masters levels – something which would make us the first academy of this kind in the country.
“The problem we have at the moment is that we have clubs who develop synchronised swimmers up until the age of 18, but at senior level these athletes don’t have the support. So when these 18-year olds go to university they quit the sport.”
And it is here where Brandimarte believes support from institutions such as Sport England could help the club.
“Support from Sport England would help us secure more time in the pool and also increase our land-based training which is something we really believe in. Too many synchro clubs force young swimmers into the pool when their bodies are not ready and we believe that by making sure swimmers are fully in control of their bodies first, by the time they go into the pool it will be a lot easier for them.”
The submission of plans will follow the club’s taster synchro sessions scheduled for June 4 at which children and adults interested in the sport have the opportunity to experience the cutting-edge training techniques for free. Later in the summer, the club will also host its first international camp between August 18-21 featuring top European coaches and guest Olympic swimmers.
“Our summer camps will provide swimmers with an opportunity to be involved in our unique approach to synchro training,” Brandimarte said. “So there will be parts of the sessions dedicated to ballet, flexibility, core stability and other land-based training techniques, on top of the time in the pool where we will work on synchro techniques.
“Ultimately, though, the taster sessions are dedicated to having fun and we want to welcome people of all ages and abilities to join us.”
Team Bath Synchro Club are next in action at the Walsall Trophy on May 13 when Rebecca MacOliver and Annabelle Byrne will be competing in the masters competition as a duet.