Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe came away from the second leg of the World Aquatics Artistic Swimming World Cup with bronze medals, as four of Great Britain’s top artistic athletes gained valuable experience ahead of a busy summer for the group.
Kate and Izzy went in the Women’s Free Duet event at the Piscine Olympique Angelotti, hoping to showcase the work they have put into their new routine for 2023, as they went up against a range of talent from across the world stage in their first international competition since Rome’s European Aquatics Championships last August.
With Ukraine and Japan taking gold and silver thanks to high execution and artistic impression marks respectively, Thorpe and Shortman stayed true to their routine, which turned out to have the second highest degree of difficulty out of the field – earning a high execution mark themselves of 238.49 as they finished comfortably on the podium to take the bronze medal with an overall score of 324.39.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympians went again in the Women’s Tech Duet – scoring similarly to their medal-winning performance in what was a strong field of athletes to ultimately end up in sixth place thanks to a score of 242.30. Shortman also went in the Women’s Technical Solo event – going well with the leaders to finish just outside of the medals in fourth with a score of 242.10.
Ranjuo Tomblin, Britain’s first ever male artistic swimmer to compete at this event, laid down a solid marker in the Men’s Technical Solo event to set himself up well for future competitions at the elite level.
The 17-year-old’s 23.05 difficulty routine kept up well with the medal hopefuls after what was a strong execution score. Along with a solid artistic impression score, he found himself in fourth place once all athletes had finished their routine – scoring 188.22 and coming away with some good competition exposure as he builds towards a potential senior international debut at a major meet this summer.
Tomblin also went in the Mixed Technical Duet with partner Beatrice Crass in what is their first senior international outing as a pair. Nineteen-year-old Crass made an impression with Tomblin, the pair finishing on a score of 165.75 to end up in sixth place after a promising display of their routine.
Team manager Karen Thorpe spoke of her delight at the athletes' performances throughout the competition, as the artistic swimming team continue to break new ground and adjust to recent rule changes in the sport as they build towards this summer’s European Games and World Aquatics Championships, before turning their focus towards Paris 2024.
“We were really pleased with how it went. The tech duets of both Izzy and Kate and Ranjuo and Beatrice worked very well. They're both at different stages of their journeys, Ranjuo and Beatrice are just setting out - they’re still junior athletes so we were really pleased with their result," said Karen.
“For Ranjuo, it was his first time swimming a Tech Solo with all the senior men, so there's still things he needs to learn - but he actually performed the elements really well, which is how he ended up fourth, which is a fantastic result.
“For Kate as well, it was quite a competitive field. The main thing for us with Izzy and Kate, in both the solo and duet, is that we didn't fall down to base mark, which is part of the new judging system. We've created the routines with quite a high degree of difficulty, which has paid off for us in this event, because that gave us our placing. We know that Izzy and Kate are very technical swimmers, so we created the routine with that in mind - now we just need to work on the artistry for the next competitions at the European Games.”
Shortman and Izzy Thorpe also gave their thoughts following their medal-winning performance, with the pair full of confidence going into yet another busy year for the sport.
Kate said: “We are really happy with how the competition went as it was the first of the season. It’s great to see that the new rule changes are working well for us, and it’s making things more objective, which is a real rebranding for the sport. We’re really excited for what the future holds for us as a duet!”
Izzy added: “I completely agree with Kate. I feel we have found new motivation and drive for the sport this year, so it’s great to see the hard work we’ve been putting in day in and day out paying off!”
For the full results from the event, click here.