Daniel Watkins

Submitted by admin on Thu, 02/27/2020 - 21:05
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Canoe SlalomDaniel Watkins
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Sport: Canoe Slalom
Event: C1
Olympic History: Tokyo 2020 Olympic debut
Highlights: Making the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team
Coach: Robin Jeffery C1/Julien Billaut K1
Year Born: 1995
State Born: Tasmania

About Daniel:

Growing up in Grove, Tasmania, Daniel Watkins first picked up the paddle in 2007 when he was 11.

His parents would watch him paddle at the beach and thought it would be worth the youngster learning how to canoe and kayak properly.

 

They enrolled him in the Derwent Canoe Club beginners program where he began competing in both the C1 and K1 classes and has remained with the club ever since.

He made his Junior National debut in 2011 at the Pre-World Championships, before contesting the U23 classes from 2014.

Watkins only began competing as a senior in 2019, although no longer a beginner, the 24-year-old will make his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.


The Tasmanian secured the C1 Tokyo 2020 spot after nabbing bronze at the 2020 Australian Open Canoe Slalom, his first podium finish at the event which doubled as the final Olympic Canoe Slalom selection round.

He finished ahead of Rio 2016 Olympian Ian Borrows, to lock in his Olympic debut.

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What is a fun fact about you?

I spend about four months of the year living out of my van, camping and travelling.

What advice would you give to young paddlers?

Keep it fun and try as many things as you can on the water! Try different techniques, classes and disciplines.

What are your family connections to your sport?

My dad used to wave ski then eventually got into flatwater and multisport racing, which is how we got into the canoe club.

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Defying all odds: Tess Lloyd's comeback from life-threatening injury to Tokyo 2020

Submitted by admin on Thu, 02/27/2020 - 16:56
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Overcoming a severe injury that almost claimed her life, 49erFX sailor Tess Lloyd has written the ultimate comeback story, making her Olympic debut alongside teammate Jaime Ryan at Tokyo 2020.

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Lloyd is one of seven sailors to have been announced to the Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team thus far, though the challenges she faced on the way to achieving her childhood dream sets her apart.


Five-year-old Lloyd wanting to pursue sailing at the highest level came as no surprise to her family who had always been involved in the sport.

The athletic youngster spent her childhood dabbling in an array of activities like swimming, triathlon, cross-country, basketball, hockey and life saving, but sailing came most naturally.

“I’d always been a really sporty person, but sailing was something I really connected with and because of that, I became quite good at it when I was young,” Lloyd said at her Tokyo 2020 Team Selection announcement.

She began collecting victories as a teenager, coming first in her class at the Australian Nationals in 2012, before picking up a 23rd at the Open Worlds (1st for Youth Girls) and eighth and the Europeans (1st for Youth girls) the same year.

Her connection with the water coupled with her ongoing success inspired an Olympic dream.
“Olympics was the dream for me, I chose to pursue sailing professionally and here I am today,” she said. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Racing week! 😁🇮🇹 📸 @beauoutteridge

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But, “here I am today” is a modest statement, considering the now 24-year-old almost didn’t make it at all.

On a high after her impressive results from 2012, things were looking on track for Lloyd to make her mark as one of Australia's up and coming sailors, this, however, came to a terrifying halt when the then 16-year-old sustained a major head injury during the 2012 Australian Youth Championships in Brisbane.

A windsurfer collided with Lloyd’s boat, resulting in her being knocked off into the water, unconscious.

She was rescued by her crewmate, Lewis Duncan, who held her head above water until help arrived before being rushed to hospital for emergency brain surgery.

The teenager remained in a coma for three weeks, but her injuries were severe, and doctors didn’t expect her to walk or talk again.

 

“After you come out of a coma you’re in a different world,” she explained.

“You’re on a lot of drugs and it takes a while for you to be able to make sense of everything. 

“I wasn’t quite sure what happened to me, but as time went on I slowly started to understand and the prognosis wasn’t good.

“The doctors said I wouldn’t be able to walk or talk properly and sailing was the last thing I would be able to do,” the Victorian continued.

“No one was really sure what I was going to be like when I woke up from the coma, but I wasn’t expected to be the same person.

“They thought I’d be in a wheelchair and unable to communicate.”

But she defied all odds.

 “I woke up and after a lot of rehab trying to get my speech and memory back, I had a miraculous recovery,” she said.


“I believe the reason my body was able to do that was due to me being so healthy and fit leading into the injury and my drive to get back out onto the water, doing what I love.”

Just 10 months later, the determined youngster was back on her boat, a place that felt like home and was untainted by the challenges she was facing during her recovery.

“There were a lot of aspects of my life that became a real challenge after my injury,” she shared. 

“I had to accept that I wouldn’t be as academic at school as I originally was, which meant I had to do Year 12 over two years with the second year via correspondence.

“The Victorian Institute of Sport were really helpful in setting me up with public speaking training and interviews to help with my speech and communication and I believe it’s now become one of my strengths,” she continued.

 

“But sailing was something I always wanted in my life, so it was quite easy for me to get back on the boat.
“I just wanted to be free out there on the water and get away from all the dramas I was having at school and with trying to communicate.”

The trauma of an injury as severe at Lloyd’s could understandably lead someone to stay away from the cause of it completely, or at the very least, sit in the back of their mind as a niggling fear, but the determined skipper said this is not the case for her.

“I don’t think about the injury anymore. I wear a helmet to be safe when it’s windy and a lot of the girls now do that because of what happened to me, but I think the accident has made me more determined,” she said.

 “I definitely appreciate the little things in life because I was so close to not being here at all, or being a completely different person, which definitely puts things into perspective.”

Lloyd says that although her journey has been rough, it makes her Olympic debut even more special.
“I think I’d still be here regardless of my accident because the Olympics is a dream I’ve always had, but all the challenges along the way have made it even sweeter,” she said.

“Sailing was always my passion and I was never going to give up on it.”

You can find out more about Tess HERE and her teammate Jaime, HERE

Liana Buratti

Will Phillips

Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/26/2020 - 15:28
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Sport: Sailing
Event: 49er
Olympic History: Olympic debut
Highlights: Making the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team
Year Born: 1987
Place Born: VIC


Will Phillips was born and raised in Sorrento, VIC. He began his sailing career with the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club.

Will is set to compete at Tokyo 2020, making his Olympic debut alongside his brother Sam in the men’s 49er boat class.

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Sam Phillips

Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/26/2020 - 15:12
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Sport: Sailing
Event: 49er
Olympic History: Olympic debut
Highlights: Making the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team
Year Born: 1991
Place Born: VIC

Growing up in Sorrento, VIC, Sam Phillips competed in his first sailing competition at just eight-years-old.

Training at his local club, the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club, Sam teamed up with his brother Will competing in the 49er boat class.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Finished 6th at the 49er European Champs in Barcelona last week with Will Phillips. #49ersailing 📷#beauoutteridge

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Sam will make his Olympic debut in Tokyo, competing in the 49er class alongside his brother Will Phillips.  

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Westpac helps to bring the Olympics to Australian Communities

Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/26/2020 - 14:16
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Westpac announced as Official Banking Partner of Australian Olympic Team

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In partnership with the AOC, Westpac will be bringing the Summer Games to Australians across the nation as the Presenting Partner of Olympics Live – a national program of live sites planned for major capital cities and regional areas where Australians can come together in a moment of celebration.

Each live site will be unique to the community and will offer residents a place to watch the Olympics on a big screen, meet Olympians, enjoy Japanese cultural experiences and give Olympic sports a go.

Kicking off across the country from 24th July, many live sites are planned to be hosted by regional communities. Westpac will be working with local businesses and residents in each community to help cater and run the live events.

“We’re proud to be bringing the action, excitement and adrenalin of the 2020 Olympic Games to Aussie communities through our partnership with the Australian Olympic Committee,” David Lindberg, Westpac Chief Executive Consumer said.

“Supporters will be able to visit one of our live sites in major cities and regional areas across the country to cheer on our athletes and be part of the celebrations,” Mr Lindberg said.

As part of the AOC’s ongoing commitment to rural and regional Australia, the sporting equipment used at live sites will be donated to local sporting clubs, schools or community groups to help rebuild community spirit and a commitment to sport in these regions.

Matt Carroll AM, CEO of the Australian Olympic Committee said, “We’re excited to partner with Westpac to launch Olympics Live. The live sites across the country will not only encourage all Australian to cheer on the Team but offer the opportunity to connect with Olympic sports as participants. From our major cities, to clubs and communities, we will be encouraging people to embrace the Olympic spirit and the sports themselves with an Olympic Festival.

“With Westpac’s support we’re particularly excited at the possibility of bringing the Olympic spirit to regional communities. The Olympic spirit is about resilience, giving back and creating a positive legacy and we believe these are shared values amongst Australians and will help to energise and strengthen the efforts to rebuild regional communities.”

As the Official Banking Partner of the Australian Olympic Team, Westpac is also working with the AOC to help Olympians prepare for life during and after competition. Supporting the AOC’s Opportunities Program as the Financial Literacy partner, Westpac will help to create ‘financial essentials’ education tools in collaboration with Olympians and financial experts to support athletes with everything from getting on track with money management, staying on top of debt to learning how to save for a house.

“Beyond celebrating the Games, we also want to support the athletes. Helping Olympians prepare financially for life during and after competition is a great way that we can assist these Australian sporting stars,” continued Mr Lindberg.

Mr Carroll also discussed the importance of financial literacy and the opportunity for Olympians, “The Westpac partnership also offers the AOC the opportunity to help Olympians make better financial decisions to support their future.

“The Olympian Opportunities Program, now with the support of the Westpac, will produce a financial literacy program that will help Olympians build sound financial knowledge to help them plan their financial future. Balancing work, training, family and planning your financial future is particularly challenging for athletes. This innovative new program from Westpac is really going to help meet these challenges,” Mr Carroll concluded.

Tess Lloyd

Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/26/2020 - 12:40
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Sport:
 Sailing
Event: 49erFX
Olympic History: Olympic debutante
Highlights: Qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Year Born: 1995
State Born: VIC

Tess Lloyd started sailing at just five-years-old and always dreamed of going to an Olympic Games. As a talented young sailor, Lloyd quickly moved up the rankings and was deemed 'one to watch.'


She came first in her class at the Australian Nationals in 2012, before picking up a 23rd at the Open Worlds (1st for Youth Girls) and eighth and the Europeans (1st for Youth girls) that same year.

Things were looking on track for Lloyd to make her mark as one of Australia's up and coming sailors, this, however, came to a terrifying halt when the then 16-year-old sustained a major head injury during the 2012 Australian Youth Championships in Brisbane.

Lloyd’s boat collided with a windsurfer, resulting in her being knocked unconscious off her boat. Crewmate, Lewis Duncan, found Lloyd unconscious in the water and quickly came to her rescue, holding her head above water until further help came.  

After three weeks in an induced coma, Lloyd woke to find she had lost the ability to walk and talk, however, she never lost sight of her goals and after months of grueling rehabilitation was determined to get back out on the water.  

A mere 10 months later, Lloyd was on her boat doing what she loved most, with her sights set on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but her Olympic debut would need to wait.

Despite a successful campaign leading into the Games, a decision was made not to send a 49er FX team to Rio.

But this devastating reality did not deter Lloyd, with the 24-year-old continuing to strive towards her Olympic dream for the past 4 years, a dream that will soon become a reality when she sails into Tokyo 2020, making her Olympic debut competing in the 49erFX class alongside crewmate Jaime Ryan.

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What is your personal motto?

"Life battles don't always go to the strongest or fastest men, sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can"

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Artistic Swimmers in Synch for Tokyo 2020 Selection

Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/26/2020 - 12:10
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The Australian Artistic Swimming team for Tokyo 2020 was announced today in Canberra, with four returning Olympians and four Olympic debutants named to the eight-strong team.

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Jane Fruzynski, Kiera Gazzard, Kirsten Kinash and Rachel Presser will make their Olympic debut in Tokyo alongside Rio Olympians Hannah Cross, Emily Rogers, Amber Rose Stackpole and Amie Thompson, with Thompson and Stackpole also named to compete in the Duet event in Tokyo.

Australia are one of just ten nations qualified to contest the Team event in Tokyo, earning their quota with a strong performance at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Australian Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 Ian Chesterman said today’s selection was great recognition of the persistence and determination showed by the eight athletes.

“It is a privilege to announce the Artistic Swimming for Tokyo 2020 today,” Mr Chesterman said.

“These are all athletes from a relatively small sport who have worked so hard and sacrificed a great deal to make it to Tokyo and represent Australia at the Olympic Games.

“Their selection is not only a great personal achievement, but it will also inspire the next generation of artistic swimmers to pursue their goals towards Paris 2024, LA 2028 and hopefully Brisbane 2032.

“To those off to their second Olympics, welcome back to the Australian Olympic Team and to the four first timers, congratulations and welcome aboard.

“Making an Olympic Team is a remarkable achievement, and it has been the work of many that have made this possible, so my thanks go to families, friends, coaches, support staff and everyone at Artistic Swimming Australia who have played a vital role in reaching this milestone.

“I look forward to following the team’s progress in the upcoming months as they build towards Tokyo 2020.”

At 18 years-old, youngest member of the team Kiera Gazzard is ecstatic to make her Olympic debut.

“This is a lifelong dream of mine,” Gazzard said. “I vividly remember watching the Beijing Olympics when I was seven saying to my mum I want to go to the Olympics – I can’t believe I can now look back and say I’ve done it, I’ve made an Olympic Team.

“It’s been an amazing experience to go through the training and selection camps with a bunch of girls that I look up to and have for many years, and will now share an Olympics with them.

The Sydney based athlete has been participating in Artistic Swimming since she was eight.

“I love Artistic Swimming as it combines so many elements of art and sport. You get to express yourself creatively, but only by pushing yourself physically and executing precise technical manoeuvres. I learn something new every training session.” 

Rio Olympian and team co-captain Amie Thompson relocated from Sydney to Perth to follow her sporting dreams.

“Making this Team shows it’s about the journey and sacrifices we make, and that perseverance can end in this beautiful experience of the Olympic Games,” Thompson said.

“I had tried synchro when I was young and loved it, but there wasn’t a club near me. One day I found a flyer for a new club opening near us and it changed my life – if I hadn’t seen that flyer and given it a go I never would have been on this Olympic journey.”

The 24-year-old engineering student will contest the eight-person Teams event and the Duet with Amber Rose Stackpole.

“It feels so good to say I’m going to my second Olympics. It’s been fantastic to see the team grow and develop and be in the really strong place we’re in today, and I’m really excited to contest the Duet in Tokyo.

“While I love the performance aspect, making these incredible movements look effortless, I love the daily grind and small steps on the way. Achieving mini goals in a training session, sharing a laugh in a hard session with teammates, makes every day worth it.

“Sport has taught me when something goes wrong, I can deal with it piece by piece and overcome it - whether it’s a university assignment or something in daily life, there isn’t a challenge too big.”

Artistic Swimming Australia President Kim Davis congratulated the selected athletes on their milestone.

“Artistic Swimming Australia, in partnership with the AOC, is delighted to present the 2020 Olympic team,” Ms Davis said. “From here on forward, it is all about teamwork and perseverance for these eight athletes. 

“This is a seasoned team, four team members are Rio 2016 alumni, and ASAI is confident this experience will be met with success in Tokyo. Good luck to all the athletes in Tokyo, make Australia proud."
 

Today’s selection takes the announced Australian Team for Tokyo 2020 to 15 athletes of an expected 480-strong Team size.

Artistic Swimming made its Olympic debut in 1984 (named Synchronised Swimming) and is one of only two events that is female only at the Olympics.

Teams must perform a Technical routine of three minutes containing five technical elements that all teams must perform and a Free routine of four minutes that emphasises creativity and choreography.

10 things you didn’t know about Artistic Swimming

Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/26/2020 - 12:01
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With Australia's Artistic Swimmers just announced for Tokyo 2020, what better time to get to know more about this elegant yet excitingly acrobatic watersport?

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What is Artistic Swimming?  

Artistic Swimming is a blend of acrobatics, swimming and dance, coordinated into a routine format and accompanied by music. Artistic swimmers require incredible strength, flexibility, grace, artistry and long underwater endurance.  

What is the difference between sychronised swimming and Artistic Swimming?  

There is no difference between sychronised swimming and Artistic Swimming, it is simply a name change. The name was changed by FINA in July 2017 in an attempt to rebrand the sport and boost its popularity, aligning it with similar disciplines such as gymnastics.  

When did Artistic Swimming make its Olympic debut? 

Artistic Swimming became an Olympic sport at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, featuring solo and duet events. In Atlanta 1996 the solo and duet events were replaced by an eight-person water ballet, however, since Sydney 2000 the Olympic program has included the team and duet event.

What Artistic Swimming events are on the program for Tokyo 2020? 

At Tokyo 2020, Artistic Swimming will have both a team event and a duet event. The team event is comprised of eight athletes, while, the duet is comprised of two athletes. Both events feature a technical routine, lasting a maximum 2 minutes 50 seconds, and a free routine which lasts three to four minutes. 

The technical routine requires athletes to execute a series of prescribed movements and positions, while the free routine has no required elements to perform, meaning there is a much greater emphasis on the creativity of choreography and movement. 

Alongside rhythmic gymnastics, artistic swimming is the only exclusively female Olympic sport.  

What is Australia’s best Olympic result in Artistic Swimming?  

Australia has participated in artistic swimming at every Olympic Games since its inception, except 1996. Australia’s best results have been: Team - seventh (2004); Duets - 13th by Donella Burridge/Lisa Steanes in 1984 and Lisa Lieschke/Semon Rohloff in 1988. 

How is Artistic Swimming judged?  

Routines are scored out of 100, with points awarded for execution, artistic impression and difficulty.  

Performers are scored by three panels, each comprising five judges. In the technical routine, one panel of judges scores athletes' technical execution, while another scores their choreography, use of music, synchronisation, difficulty and presentation. The third panel of judges scores the elements (five designated movements). 

In the free routine, one panel of judges scores athletes' execution, synchronisation and difficulty, while another scores their choreography, musical interpretation and presentation. The third panel scores difficulty. 

What is the size of the performance space?  

Swimmers are confined to a 12x12m competition area. The pool is just under 3 meters in depth, and swimmers are not permitted to touch the bottom throughout their performance.  

How long can the athletes hold their breath for?  

While some Artistic Swimmers can hold their breath for up to three minutes, most routines only require swimmers to hold their breath for up to one minute. Nose-clips are used to help the swimmers hold their breath while underwater, particularly while they are upside down. 

How do the athletes stay afloat in the water?  

Artistic swimmers must continuously tread water, using the eggbeater technique, throughout their performance to stay above the water. Competitors also use techniques such as sculling, in which they move their hands through the water to hold their position or move.  

How does an Artistic Swimmer's makeup and hair stay in place?  

Artistic Swimmer's layer on water-proof makeup so that the judges can clearly see their expressive faces throughout the performance. In addition, they use Knox gelatin in their hair, so it stays in place during their performance.

Kirsten Kinash

Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/26/2020 - 12:00
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Sport: Artistic Swimming
Event: Team
Olympic History: Olympic debut
Highlights: Making the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team
Year Born: 1998
Place Born: Canada

 

Growing up in Canada, Kirsten Kinash always loved the water, but speed swimming up and down between the lanes became too monotonous.

When she was 7, she joined a local Artistic Swimming Club and was hooked immediately.

Her family moved to Australia three years later and Kinash joined the Gold Coast Mermaids and with "amazing coaching" and "beautiful outdoor weather" she fell further in love with the sport.

In 2017 Kinash was selected as a reserve on the team that went to the World Championships in Budapest, which she says was an amazing experience but being on the sidelines made her eager to work hard and one day earn her spot in the team.


She would achieve her goal two years later, when she was selected to swim at the 2019 World Championships in Gwanju, South Korea.

"That was the highlight of my sporting career so far," she said.

"Sitting on the phone telling my family I had finally made it and was going to swim in both team patterns at the World Championships is a moment I'll never forget."

But her greatest achievement was still ahead when the Australian team found out that their swim had qualified them for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The 21-year-old will join fellow teammates Rose Stackpole, Amie Thompson, Emily Rogers, Hannah Cross, Rachel Presser, Kiera Gazzard, and Jane Fruzynski as they take on Tokyo Together.

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I worked a summer job performing as a mermaid in a shark tank

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I am studying a Bachelor of Public Health Promotion and Public Health Nutrition

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Jane Fruzynski

Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/26/2020 - 12:00
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Sport: Artistic Swimming
Event: Team
Olympic History: Olympic debutante
Highlights: Helping Australia qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Year Born: 2000
State Born: WA

After attending a ‘come and try’ day for Artistic Swimming at her local pool, Jane Fruzynski knew that this was the sport for her.

Growing up in Perth, WA Fruzynski joined the West Coast Splash Synchronised Swimming Club and hasn't looked back.  

While she has been fortunate to avoid injuries in her career thus far, she has found the mental side of sport to present the biggest challenge. However, over her career she has been able to build her confidence and learn to keep an open mindset when it comes to competing.  

This growth mindset was largely influenced by her junior club coach who always showed unwavering support and belief, especially at times when Fruzynski didn’t believe in herself.  

In 2017, she was a member of the FINA World Championships team where Australia beat Egypt for the first time in six years. Not only was this a long-standing goal for the Australian team, but it was also a personal best score. 

Fruzynski was also a part of the 2019 FINA World Championships team, where Australia qualified their spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, an achievement she considers to be her career highlight.  

The 19-year-old will make her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 alongside Rose Stackpole, Amie Thompson, Emily Rogers, Hannah Cross, Rachel Presser, Kiera Gazzard and Kirsten Kinash.

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