DANIELLE Kettlewell is trying to change perceptions that synchronised swimming is for old ladies in flower caps, visiting schools for free to highlight the intensity of training and the success of its members.
Her recent talks included Excelsior Primary School.
“Synchronised swimming can make you into an extremely fit athlete and also helps develop you as a person as it uses the left side of your brain,” Kettlewell said.
She said members of the teams she’d competed with were doctors, naturopaths, physios, environmental engineers and lawyers.
“We become successful people,” she said.
Kettlewell began synchro when she was eight years old and has now been involved with the sport for 17 years.
Originally from Canada, with Aussie-born parents, she was asked to move back to Australia to try out for its national team and she said “it paid off”.
She qualified for the World Championships in Russia in 2015, where they beat New Zealand and made their way to the Olympics in Rio.
Training took place six days a week, 10 hours a day with several hours in the water, flexibility exercises, and plenty of planning and meetings.
She coaches at SupaNova Synchro Club where advanced synchronised swimmers train 20-25 hours a week on top of their schooling.
She said the response at schools was varied, especially among boys who were often dubious about synchronised swimming as a sport.
But after she explains how much she trains and shows some videos, the boys are among those who put up their hands when she asks who thinks synchro is cool.
“People just don’t know enough about it,” Ms Kettlewell said.
“They see us every four years for the Olympics but we train and compete all the time and have a hard time getting coverage or the right coverage.
“In Australia, it’s a much smaller sport.”