Olivia in perfect sync in duet

PUBLISHED: 09:03 15 March 2008 | UPDATED: 22:09 26 October 2009

A FORMER Potters Bar synchronised swimmer has shown her Olympic potential against Europe s elite in Holland. St Albans teenager Olivia Allison, who was a member of the Furzefield-based synchro club before moving to Rushmoor, is competing in the European C

A FORMER Potters Bar synchronised swimmer has shown her Olympic potential against Europe's elite in Holland.

St Albans teenager Olivia Allison, who was a member of the Furzefield-based synchro club before moving to Rushmoor, is competing in the European Championships in Eindhoven alongside duet partner Jenna Randall.

And the British pair have booked their spots in the final of the duet free routine after once again showing their immense promise on an international stage.

The first event for the British champions was the free routine where they showcased their new programme.

Randall and Allison have been working on this routine for just over six months and after a series of amendments the girls were ready for the European stage.

They showed good synchronisation throughout to secure high eights and took ninth place with a total of 86.400 points.

The pair debuted their new technical routine at the British Championships in December.

National performance director Biz Price increased the level of difficulty in this routine to make the girls step up to the next level ahead of the Olympic qualifier in Beijing.

They took to the water with confidence in the second half of the duet programme. The pair showed improved power and propulsion through the water and with the added height on their boosts managed to take more high eights to score 86.500 points.

They booked their place in the final after securing ninth place overall with a total of 86.450 points and look set to improve their European ranking.

British Synchro is at the beginning of a development process in time for the London 2012 Olympics and centralised their athletes just over a year ago to ensure they're competing with the very elite of the sport in four years' time.

Randall and Allison were the first to begin training as full-time athletes and as part of their development they have become used to learning from international judges.

The duet made senior international debut a year ago at the World Championships and since then have continued to make a name for themselves on the international circuit.

For Herts teenager Allison, the international exposure has been invaluable.

She said: "After every competition we get feedback from international judges and from that we adapt our routines accordingly.

"So this means our routines go to the next level at each new competition.

"Our new routines are at a completely different level to anything we were used to.

"When we first started with Biz it was really hard to get used to the new levels of difficulty and now we are used to them we increase the levels again.

"Now we can generally pick up the new elements quite quickly."

Allison, 18, is one of the youngest athletes on the senior international circuit and after facing up to major international competitions she takes nerves in her stride.

"We have been doing more international competitions than we ever have done and to start with nerves used to creep in, but now we don't get nervous it is more excitement," she said.

"I look forward to doing the best swim possible. I try to focus nerves and use them to my advantage.

"I have a saying that I think sums this up perfectly and it is make your butterflies fly together, which means if they are working in unison they can help you with your swim.

"Our next challenge is the Olympic qualification event in Beijing and I am really looking forward to it.

"It will be like nothing we have ever been to before and I think it will be a great experience for us."

The final of the duet event takes place on March 17.

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