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It's sync or swim for Aussie pair
By Tom Wald
10:58 AEST Wed Jul 9 2008
Synchronise swimmers ranked their highest standing yet.
The Australian synchronised swimming team will head to Beijing ranked No.7 in the world.

Synchronised swimming has barely managed to register in the psyche of most Australians.

Plenty snigger at the nose clips, glitter, hair gel, make-up and forced smiles.

There is some grudging respect for the ability of competitors to hold their breath and contort their bodies during their gruelling routines.

But the overwhelming attitude is one of indifference and the nation's lack of success hasn't assisted in changing opinions.

Every four years the sport gets a fresh chance to grab some attention at the Olympics.

And there is a flicker of hope this time around.

Maybe not in terms of medals just yet but definitely becoming more competitive on the world stage.

Synchronised swimming in Australia has been overhauled at the elite level since the Athens Olympics and the nation has qualified a team for the first time at an away Games.

"We have contracted a coach from Russia, Anna Nepotacheva, who has been leading this program for the last four years," said Irena Olevsky, the Australian team's section manager for Beijing.

"With Russia being ranked top in the world, Anna's experience has really changed the level of Australian synchro."

And she is not the only telling influence on the Australian team to come from overseas.

Australia's duet is made up of the experienced pair of Myriam Glez and Erika Leal-Ramirez who competed at past Olympics for France and Mexico respectively.

Sydney Olympian Olevsky said the nation's duet and team faced quality opposition in China.

"There is always a chance of winning a medal," she said.

"You wouldn't be a very good competitor if you eliminate your chances before the competition even starts.

"However, there will be a lot of strong teams there and the competition will be very tough."

In the team event, Australia heads to Beijing ranked No.7 in the world - the nation's highest standing in the sport's history.

"I think people are starting to look at us and go they're coming along and hopefully soon we'll be in the top few," said team member Tarren Otte.

Australia's synchronised swimming Team: Eloise Amberger (Team event), Coral Bentley (Team event), Sarah Bombell (Team event), Tamika Domrow (Team event), Myriam Glez (Duet & Team event), Erika Leal-Ramirez (Duet & Team event), Tarren Otte (Team event), Samantha Reid (Team event), Bethany Walsh (Team event), Anna Nepotacheva (head coach).

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