Team GB's synchronised swimming eight pleased with first day

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The Independent Online

The British synchronised swimming team put in a confident performance today as they competed at their first ever Olympic Games.

Team GB go into the second day of the competition in sixth place, exactly on the target set by coach Biz Price.

The eight-strong team performed their technical routine today to classical music, Paganini Five, in front of an audience including the Duchess of Cambridge.

Olivia Federici, 22, said: "Our preparation all this morning felt really good in the pool, we were really confident and calm and it set us up for a really confident performance this afternoon.

"Underwater it felt very calm and everyone felt like they knew what they were doing, they weren't getting overwhelmed, we were very focused and nothing was distracting us, so it felt really good.

"We'll have to look at the scores and see what we can improve on tomorrow. We'll have a look at the video and see if we can carry anything over into our free routine so we can do another great performance."

Synchro has made great strides in Britain over the last few years, mainly since Price was appointed national performance director in 2007 and the high performance centre at Aldershot was established.

Already competing at international level on little training or funding were Federici and Jenna Randall, the most high-profile synchronettes in Britain.

The pair came ninth in the duets phase of the competition, having ended in 14th place in Beijing.

Randall, 23, said: "It went really well. The team were a bit worried about the crowd, whether they would be able to hear the counts at the very beginning but it was fine and everyone really enjoyed it so it's fantastic.

"This Olympics was the first time Great Britain as a team has actually qualified so it was fantastic for us to be the first to break that barrier and it's looking very positive for Rio (de Janeiro)."

She was in confident mood about the team performing their Peter Pan free routine tomorrow.

"Free is our stronger routine because in free you can do whatever you like, and we've got great choreography, it's very British with a Peter Pan theme. Everyone loves swimming it so it's going to be really great."

Reigning Olympic champions Russia, who are favourites to keep the title, performed their routine to Russian Dance by Denis Garnizov, and came away with the top score of the day, 98.1.

Svetlana Romashina said: "It was good, our coaches were very happy and our scores were high. We're really happy because all the elements were very clear, and we'll try to put in another strong performance tomorrow."

She said the secret to the country's success - which has won gold at every World Championships since 1998 - is in their coaching.

At the end of today China were in second place with 97.0, and Spain third with 96.2.

The final stage of the competition is tomorrow when the teams will perform their free routines.