Tweed star is synching the competition
A SEPTET of synchronised swimming stars from the Tweed have helped the Gold Coast Mermaids Synchronised Swimming Club take out first place at the Australian National Synchronised Swimming Championships in Brisbane.
After swimming their way into Australia's top competition by winning the Queensland Synchronised Swimming Championships in March, the Mermaids, aided by six girls from Pottsville and one from Banora Point, overcame their national rivals with skill, technique and the club's trump card, 18-year-old synchro phenom Rachel Presser, who took home four medals.
The Tweed arm of the Mermaids carried their team to an overall tally of 14 gold, six silver and three bronze medals in the pool at the Australian championships.
Pressing her claim
Rachel Presser, an 18-year-old arts/journalism student from Banora Point, used to be a standout gymnast and dancer.
But when the dance company Presser used to attend went bust, and her mum saw an ad in the paper for synchronised swimming classes, Presser and her family thought they would find out if her prodigious on-land acrobatic skills were amphibious.
"I fell in love with the sport as soon as I tried it. It was so different yet so familiar,” Presser said.
"Some skills I could transfer, like flexibility and strength... It's so unique. You get to try and do something that no one else could, things that take years of training. That is special.”
Presser now studies at Griffith University, juggling her uni work with a position on both the Australian Senior and Junior Synchronised Swimming teams.
She had her first taste of international competition in Russia in 2016 at the Junior World Championships, and in 2017 Presser stepped up and joined senior members, including Australia's Rio Olympians, at the Spanish Open as part of the national team that finished fifth.
Soon after, she was on a plane to Budapest for the world's most prestigious aquatic event, the FINA World Championships.
After her commanding performance at Nationals, 2018 is looking even more exciting for Presser, who flies for Tokyo today for the FINA World Series Japan Open as she continues to build toward a potential Olympic Games berth.
"After Japan, there's the US Open, and then the world champs - again in Budapest,” Presser said.
"The Olympics Games in Tokyo 2020 is the ultimate goal.
"Even though Tokyo is only two years away, in synchro there is always lots of room for improvement. I'm going to have to give it my all to make it onto that team.”