fooled by the smiles of Australia’s synchronised swimming team. It’s all part
of the professional show.
Danielle Kettlewell said one of her favourite things about the sport is the
person it has made her become through a carefully balanced understanding of
artistic expression and athleticism.
may not initially be perceived, synchro is ruthless and tough, it makes you
into a fighter,” she said.
"I have learnt
to portray the grace of a ballet dancer while having the fight of a boxer and
the trust in my teammates of an eight man rowing team.”
spectators may be surprised to think of synchronised swimming as a fiercely
competitive, physically demanding sport.
Danielle likens it to most elite sports with the added pressure of holding your
breath 50 per cent of the time.
"I think a lot
of the criticism around people doubting synchro as a sport is that they see
synchro at the surface level of being a performance and being 'easy' because we
smile in most of our routines.
smile fool you is part of our job as synchronise swimmers, but never misjudge
that smile for ease.”
The lead up to
Rio Olympics has been a rollercoaster for Canadian-born Kettlewell, who lives
in Perth, and her eight teammates who are spread throughout the country.
qualifying for Rio at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia, last July,
the team has welcomed new coach Lilianne Grenier and had to reduce its numbers
from 12 people to nine.
Prior to Worlds
the team worked on strengthening their unity through training camps at the
Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for two weeks of each month. Since
April this year they have "centralized” by splitting training between Perth,
Canberra and international competition.
This step has
been crucial for allowing the team to improve beyond their performance in
"Being a team
that comes from three separate states we have all sacrificed time from our
family and 'centralizing' which is a loose term because we have popped between
Canberra, Perth and international competitions,” Kettlewell said.
"We are confident that we can deal with anything thrown at us in Rio.”
At London the
Australian team performed to an AC/DC medley and in Rio the team’s routines will
still have a distinctly patriotic feel. When the team competes on Thursday 18
August, spectators should expect touches of Australian flora and fauna
including moves inspired by the crocodile.
This will be
Kettlewell’s Olympic debut and she will be supported by captain Bianca Hammett
who is the only team member with Games experience, having competed at the 2012
London Olympic Games.
the Games since childhood Kettlewell is thrilled at the chance to walk in the
Opening Ceremony and perform on the international stage.
"I can only
imagine how proud, fulfilled and overwhelmed I will feel when, after years of
religiously watching Opening Ceremonies, I get the opportunity to walk into one
myself,” she said.