Team GB's synchronised pair Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici continue Olympic campaign


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The Independent Online

Team GB's synchronised swimming duo Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici will be competing today and hoping to prove that their sport is more than just "splashing around in the pool". 

The pair made their first appearance of the Games at the aquatic centre yesterday, where they finished in a creditable ninth place in the duet technical routine.

Today they will take part in the duets free routine preliminary and are hoping for a top six finish in tomorrow’s final.

The duo told how important their close friendship is, describing how they warm up by staring into each other’s eyes to ensure they are in the right state of mind to compete.

Randall, 23, from Camberley, Surrey, said: “It’s a bit scary but exciting at the same time, for us it feels like we haven’t got enough hours in the day but we’re excited and pumped to do the best we can.

“It’s special for all of us to be in our home country but it’s also good that because of this people are seeing synchro as a proper sport rather than something you do on holiday splashing around in the pool.” Before they get in the pool the pair have a routine that includes a “hand-squeeze”, Federici, 22, said.

“For duet, Olivia and I always stare into each other’s eyes for ages to make sure we’re in the same mind-set, give each other a high five and squeeze each other’s hands so we know we’re together,” she said.

Federici, who is from Plymouth but lives in Aldershot, added: “It just helps us to focus  as a unit — that we’ve got each other and we’re both ready to go out there and do it.”

The pair competed in their first Olympics in Beijing four years ago, where they finished 14th.

Their debut yesterday prompted a raucous welcome and following their routine there was a standing ovation and a sea of Union flags. Randall said the support of the home crowd had helped them on the way to their score of 88,100 out of a possible 100.

“It was great. Hearing the crowd cheer for us when we were walking out was fantastic, it gave us that extra little buzz when we were swimming,” she said.

The first phase of the synchronised swimming contest includes a technical routine — which was performed yesterday and has to include specific moves in a designated order — and a free routine where the swimmers create their own routine.

The scores from the two routines are added together and the top 12 duets qualify for the final.