EVEN in the weeks leading up to the Rio 2016 Olympics, our synchronised swimming team was fending off taunts about their sport.
Danielle Kettlewell was in the squad that led Australia to a respectable eighth place.
But the 25-year-old admitted it was tough to face questions about the legitimacy of her sport so close to such a major competition.
“I think through education and showing people how hard it is they will start to realise it’s not all smiles and sequins and sparkles.
“That’s a facade,” she said.
The Canadian-born athlete said competitors train eight to ten hours a day, six days a week.
Up to six hours each day are spent in the pool.
“Our sport has evolved in the last 30 years and if you go and watch it live, it’s absolutely amazing,” she said.
“We do things that defy physics.
“We throw people out of the water, three metres in the air, and nobody is touching the bottom of the pool.
“I don’t even know how that’s possible.”
Kettlewell, in partnership with the SupaNova Synchronised Swimming Club where she is a coach, is launching a campaign where she speaks at local schools about her journey to Rio for the chance to let kids know about synchro classes in the area.
The aim is to inspire young children to chase their dreams while also offering insight into a sport most will not have tried.
Kettlewell was given her opportunity to represent Australia after being brought out of premature retirement by the Australian team in 2013.
Prior to her move to Perth, she had given up the sport professionally believing she had reached her pinnacle after competing at the Canadian National Championships .
Her Australian-born parents were a ticket to achieve an Olympic dream.
“I will say this a million times, I wasn’t supposed to be an Olympian. I truly believe that,” she said.
“I was given a golden opportunity and I made the absolute best of that but if you told me five years ago I would be an Olympian I probably would have bet against myself.
“If I can do it, there are so many things that people can do.”
For information, visit www.supanovasynchro.com.au.