Synchro partner Sarah Barrow vows nothing will upset preparation for Olympic medal bid
SARAH BARROW remains confident the selection row involving synchro partner Tonia Couch will not deflect the duo’s goal to win an Olympic medal for Great Britain.
European and British diving number ones Barrow and Couch will spearhead Team GB’s synchro challenge from the top board at the London Games at the end of next month.
The 23-year-olds are in the form of their lives and Barrow insisted she and near life-long friend Couch will not allow the appeal against the latter’s non-selection for an individual place at the Games become a distraction.
Plymouth Diving’s Couch claimed the second 10m individual qualifying place behind gold medalist and automatic qualifier Stacie Powell at the Olympic trials in Sheffield last weekend.
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But Team GB performance director Alexei Evangulov opted for Monique Gladding to join Powell, prompting an appeal by Plymouth Diving and Team GB coach Andy Banks to try and get Couch reinstated.
Nevertheless, Barrow, Couch and Tom Daley are all in a 12-strong GB dive party for London 2012 and the Plymouth trio are expected to lead the medal hunt this summer.
If their current set of results are any guide, Barrow and Couch are very much in the running for a podium place at the 10m synchro final on July 31.
They became European synchro champions in Eindhoven in May and won a bronze in this year’s FINA World Cup.
Their success is all down to hard work, preparation and a natural affinity with one another, said Barrow, which goes back to when they were six and young gymnasts with the Swallows Club in Plymouth.
They have been firm friends ever since and the inevitable pairing came in 2010 when it was decided Barrow and Couch had the magic formula which would hopefully reap dividends in London.
Buoyed by the confidence that comes with personal bests and medals, Barrow said: “We are doing really well and won’t let anything get in the way of our ambition – to come back to Plymouth with a medal.”
Although they will be tested by the best in the world at the London Aquatics Centre, it is a case of ‘let them come’ for the duo in what is expected to be a high-class punch-up in the women’s synchro.
Barrow said: “It’s all come together really well this year for myself and Tonia. We won’t let anything upset that.
“We’ve been preparing for the Olympics for the last two years. Our association goes back lot further than that.
“Tonia took up diving before I did, but both our mums took us to Swallows Gymnastics in Plymouth when we were six.
“Over the years, since taking up diving seriously, we have competed with and against each other.
“I went to university in Leeds, but we have always kept in touch and trained regularly together whenever we’ve been able to.
“Establishing a winning synchro partnership is difficult, even if both of you are very good athletes.
“Me and Tonia work hard to make sure our routines are perfect. We seem to have a natural affinity which makes us perfect partners, if that’s possible.
“Another factor is we get on well, personally. In all the times we have roomed together around the world, we’ve not had an argument.
“Tonia is my friend and as with all the guys down in Plymouth, including Tom and Brooke (Graddon), we’re all close.
“It’s that closeness, particularly, when we compete, which I hope will help us win a medal at the Olympics.”