Synchro swimmers do it the hard way

Australia’s synchronised swimmers will again be punching above their weight in their bid to break more new ground at the London Olympics.

The Australian team placed seventh at the 2008 Beijing Games, its best ever result and a gallant performance considering the lack of funding the sport receives in Australia compared to powerful European nations.

The team can qualify for London by finishing as the highest-placed Oceania team at this month’s world championships in Shanghai.

And while the funding situation hasn’t changed, team officials are hopeful a new-look squad can take plenty from the experience in China as they look to build towards another good showing at next year’s Games.

“I think we’ve done extremely well if you look at it,” Australian team manager Irena Olevsky said.

“We receive no government funding … and we placed seventh in the last Olympics.

“Not many athletes can say they’ve funded themselves and made an Olympic final.”

Eloise Amberger and Sarah Bombell will compete in the duet event at worlds after they claimed bronze at last year’s Commonwealth Games and will be joined in the team event by Bianca Hammett, Samantha Reid, Olia Burtaev, Tamika Domrow, Jenny-Lyn Anderson, LiChing Yew, Louise McConnell and Amie Thompson.

Synchronised swimming received Australian government funding until it ceased in 2005 under a new funding criteria.

It is one of only three Olympic sports that currently do not receive government funding, along with handball and modern pentathlon.