Learn more about the nominees across the 'Outstanding Artistic Swimmers' and 'Outstanding Artistic Swimming Coach' of 2021-22 categories at the British Swimming: The Awards, Supercharged by Speedo.
Outstanding Artistic Swimmers of 2021-22
Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe
City of Bristol SSC
Olympic duet Kate and Isabelle are nominated for their dedication, hard work and incredible performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. After the postponement of the Games in 2020, training took on a new format, each day waking up early for a meeting on zoom and continuing through the day taking part in different activities to keep them in good physical shape.
After three months, when they were allowed back in the pool but their coach was at her home in Italy, the duet persevered through endless lengths of swimming and plenty more zoom sessions and then heading back to their usual pool which was closed to the public for hours and hours of training, just the two of them and their coach. They were a credit to our sport and our nation, at the Games and in the campaigns and publicity they received during and after the Games, helping to inspire people to get involved in the sport and encourage others to achieve their dreams.
Since the Olympics the pair have completed their first year at university and are part of the new High Performance Centre. During the 2022 season, they swam as the duet and part of the teams at the Worlds and Europeans, finishing sixth in the World Championships and fourth in Rome at the Europeans in the Combination Team event.
Outstanding Artistic Swimming Coach of 2021-22
Swim England National Team Coach and Artistic Swimming Talent Officer
Katie started the 2022 season expecting to work with a head coach. When it became apparent this wasn't going to happen, she continued to work with the seniors team, developing team routines. Along with others, she choreographed and coached the senior Tech and Free routines. Although Katie is young and still has skills to learn, her approach and dedication to the team athletes was well received. The steps required to lead the choreography are not to be underestimated, and the incredible attention to detail she showed through hours of refining routine music and hours of planning, re-shaping and re-choreographing paid dividends at both the World and European Championships.
Swim England National Team Coach
Paola's work in 2021 was led by her dedication to the sport. She worked tirelessly to prepare duet athletes Kate Shortman and Izzy Thorpe for the Tokyo Olympic Games. In a difficult time after the postponement of the Games in 2020 due to Covid, she adapted and developed the training plans to keep the athletes on track and motivated throughout this time. Qualification for Tokyo came late in June 2021, leaving only a short time to make the final adjustments for the athletes and to the routines. The athletes did not let Paola down - they demonstrated their physical preparation was second to none and swam with precision and power. During 2022, Paola has taken on a new challenge, focusing on the Junior Priority athletes. This group of six athletes began training in September 2021. Paola worked with them to deliver two duets, two mixed duets and the male solo. There was constant commitment to hard work over the year, always going the extra mile to ensure their training was done to the best level, driving round the country and meeting their club coaches. The results were impressive and the hard work paid off. At European Juniors, the mixed duet came away with a bronze medal, while the male solo result produced a silver.