Shortman and Thorpe all set for Olympic qualifier

10 Jun 2021

Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe are ready for arguably the biggest competition of their careers to date as they look to secure a place at their first Olympic Games at this weekend's artistic swimming qualification tournament in Barcelona. 

The Bristol-based pair will compete in the Free Duet and Technical Duet preliminaries on Saturday (12th June), with the finals taking place the following day (Sunday 13th June). The top eight pairs across the duet competition whose nations have not already secured a spot in the team event will qualify for Tokyo 2020, which is now less than two months away. 

Shortman and Thorpe - who train under Paola Basso - put in a series of eye-catching displays at the recent European Aquatics Championships, setting personal bests with both their Free Duet and Technical Duet routines, with their Free Duet performance earning a score of 85.8000 to ultimately see them clinch seventh place. 

Those routines boosted the duo's confidence heading into this FINA Artistic Swimming Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament - and while they have both taken part at two World Championships before this, there is unsurprisingly nothing like the prospect of qualifying for the biggest sporting event of them all.

"You can't even put it into words, nothing encapsulates what it would mean to us," said Shortman.

"It's been such an emotional journey, and even if it had been in 2020 it would have been emotional - but the fact we've had to persevere and push through the lockdowns, with the restrictions, nothing can put into words how much it would mean to us." 

Kate Shortman Izzy Thorpe Free Duet Prelim [DeepBlueMedia]

With that European display behind them, and a solid training block back at their base in the South West, the build-up has been good for Kate and Izzy.

Speaking after the Europeans, Thorpe added: "We just need to keep working like we have been, our training is paying off because we did really well in Budapest, so we've just got to maintain that. We just need to maintain and hopefully improve a bit more - we're still in good stead for qualifying, so that is good.

"We have been waiting so long for this, so it would be extra special to qualify for the Olympics."

Shortman and Thorpe are scheduled to open the Free Duet preliminaries at 9am BST on Saturday morning, with the Technical Duet event starting at 4pm BST.

For the schedule and to follow all the results from Barcelona, click HERE. All the action will be livestreamed on Eurovision HERE.