Olivia makes Olympics grade

PUBLISHED: 12:07 24 April 2008 | UPDATED: 22:01 26 October 2009

HERTS teenager Olivia Allison has qualified for this year s Beijing Olympics. The former Potters Bar synchro swimmer and partner Jenna Randall have met the selection criteria needed to book Britain s place at the 2008 Games. They produced a superb perform

HERTS teenager Olivia Allison has qualified for this year's Beijing Olympics.

The former Potters Bar synchro swimmer and partner Jenna Randall have met the selection criteria needed to book Britain's place at the 2008 Games.

They produced a superb performance at the 2008 Olympic Games synchronised swimming qualification tournament in Beijing.

Allison was pleased with how the event went for her and Randall.

"We had a plan coming into the competition and knew what we wanted to achieve," said the 18-year-old from St Albans.

"We've proven that we are meant to be here and will work to improve on our performances here."

The qualifying event in Beijing took place in the arena where the Olympics will take place in August.

Allison added: "The pool is amazing and it was really good to swim in front of a large crowd.

"When we get back home we'll look back on this week and revise our routine to make it even better."

The British pairing competed in the second round of the duet free event on Sunday for the final four places available at the Beijing Games.

The Olympic duet qualification rules were somewhat complicated due to the large number of teams involved.

The eight countries and regions that have qualified for the team event are automatically entered for the Olympic duet.

The remaining 16 pairs comprise of the top-ranked pair at the continental championships or continental games and the best-ranked pairs at this tournament, excluding those who have already earned Olympic berths.

The top 14 ranked duets after the technical and the first round of the free event at last week's qualification tournament were selected for the Olympics.

Only four places were left for the remaining duets, which were decided by taking the technical score and that from the second round of the free event.

St Albans teenager Allison and Randall were joined by duets from Slovakia, Austria, Belarus, Dominica, Venezuela, the Czech Republic and Germany.

They took to the water first in a fully packed National Aquatics Centre with high hopes after going into the second round as the top ranked duet.

After a solid performance, the girls maintained their position at the top of the scoreboard to become one of four duets to take up the final places for the event at the Olympics later this year.

With a final score of 87.666, Allison and Randall were a point clear of their nearest rivals, Katsiaryne Kulpo and Nastasiya Parfenova of Belarus.

British Synchronised Swimming national performance director Biz Price was happy with the performances they gave at the tournament.

"I'm very, very pleased with how Olivia and Jenna have done.

"They have given three solid performances and were leading throughout today's round," said Price afterwards.

"In terms of performance, we were ahead of the other competing nations and when you look at the scores it would have given us 14th position last Friday.

"The girls were disappointed to have had to swim in the second round, but being able to swim in front of a full-capacity crowd in the centre would have been a good experience for them."

With Britain's place secured, the athletes will begin preparing for the Olympics when they return home.

"Looking ahead, we have another training camp in Spain, which will be a week long and some competitions in the lead up to the Games," continued Price.

"The scores Olivia and Jenna have been getting have been in the high 8's, and I will be looking at the programme and increasing the difficulty of the routines as we take the next step up.


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