Shortman and Thorpe 'super happy' with Olympic debut displays

3 Aug 2021

Kate Shortman and Izzy Thorpe capped a memorable debut Olympic Games by placing 14th in the Duet competition at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. 

The Bristol-based pair headed into Tuesday’s Tech Duet section sat 15th on the leaderboard after their Free Duet prelims score of 84.7333.

Their technical routine is a two-and-a-half-minute vampire-themed display, incorporating a series of technical requirements as they look to catch the eye of the judges across the elements of execution, artistic impression and degree of difficulty.

Shortman and Thorpe showed extraordinary energy and synchronicity throughout to earn a score of 85.155, higher than their Free Duet tally and only narrowly short of their personal best for the routine, the 85.223 that helped them secure Olympic qualification in Barcelona in June.

Their combined scores saw them finish only 4.2 points adrift of Mexico, who took the final spot in the Free Duet final in 12th.

Still, there was no hiding the delight of Shortman and Thorpe – who are coached by Paola Basso and Stefania Speroni – as their first Olympic appearance saw them produce one of the best performances of their time together as an artistic swimming duet.

“It’s such an emotional performance. We did the Free yesterday and finished it with the Tech today, we left everything out there in the pool, we gave everything we could and we’re super happy with both of our swims,” said Shortman.

“It’s an amazing feeling, there’s honestly no words to sum up the journey and how this has been the cherry on top of everything. We have just been trying to focus on our performances so we haven’t been reading too much into all of the messages from home – but it’s amazing to have the support, especially with there being no crowd here.

Kate Shortman Izzy Thorpe Tech Duet routine Tokyo 2020
Shortman and Thorpe perform their vampire-themed Tech Duet routine at Tokyo 2020

“We’ve done great, everyone has sent us amazing messages and we’re really excited to go on our phones and look at them all now we have performed.”

Thorpe added: “From this experience, we can make sure to always think about competitions like it is the most important competition. For us, the Olympics is a massive competition – but we’ve really enjoyed it. It’s a really special thing and I think we should carry that through into other competitions, to really enjoy swimming, because obviously it shows in our routines and shows to the judges when we enjoy it.

“Like Kate said, we did really well in our Tech today, we got a better score in our Techn than in our Free, which is kind of unheard of, but it just shows we’ve been working a lot on our elements and our technical routines.

“I hope this inspires young girls, whether that’s to get into artistic swimming or another sport, just watching the Olympics and feeling inspired to get into sport. We like to say, as many people do, that sport is really important for everyone and we think as many young people should get into it.

“It’s so important for your mental health as well as your physical health, a lot of us have experienced that through lockdowns, struggling a little physically and mentally without doing sport. For us, that really helped us to get through that, and I’d advise any young girls and boys to get into it. Artistic swimming is open to everyone, boys and girls.”