Shortman and Thorpe shine to secure Olympic qualification for Team GB

13 Jun 2021

Kate Shortman and Izzy Thorpe secured Britain's place in the artistic swimming competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with a brilliant performance in the qualifying tournament in Spain.

The Bristol-based duo came into the weekend knowing this was the final chance for nations to book a ticket to this summer's Games - and they duly delivered, placing seventh in Sunday's Free Duet final to rubber stamp Team GB's place.

Last month, Shortman and Thorpe recorded a string of personal-best results at the European Championships in Budapest. Their goal was to build on those displays at the Olympic qualifier, and the signs were good across Saturday's Free Duet preliminary and Technical Duet contest.

Placing seventh in the Free Duet prelim with a score of 85.2332 and sixth in the Tech Duet with 85.2230, the pair sat seventh overall at the end of day one, ensuring their place in Sunday's Free Duet final, from which the top nine would secure Olympic qualification for their nations.

To symbolise just how far Kate and Izzy have progressed as a duo over recent years, under the tutelage of Paola Basso, they saved their best display of the meet for the final, recording a score of 85.7332 - less than 0.1 points shy of their best total from the recent Europeans.

That tally meant an overall score of 170.9652, securing them seventh place and ensuring that coveted Olympic place next month, a brilliant achievement for the pair.

At the end of such a crucial run of performances, it is clear that Kate and Izzy's close connection and love for the sport has laid the perfect platform for this success.

"I think we do have such a sister bond. We know each other so well, we've been with each other for so long," said Shortman.

"We were saying the other day, it's all about just enjoying training. If you enjoy it, it comes across in the swim. If you love what you're doing and you love the sport, then it's going to show and you're going to automatically bump up your score, so we just try to enjoy every second."

Thorpe added: "After lockdown, we've definitely come to the realisation that we just need to enjoy it. Before, I think we put too much pressure on ourselves, and now we are definitely here for fun, as everyone is.

"We really just want to enjoy it all and make the most if it. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and with everyone following us and supporting us, we feel that love and support. We really do love the support and really appreciate it."