Buoyed by the team’s performance at the just-concluded Carifta Artistic Swimming Championships in Florida, Robyn Chin Sang, the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) vice-president with responsibility for artistic swimming, is hoping it will bring more recognition and support to the sport across the island.

Chin Sang, who beamed with pride about the exploits of Jordyana Thomas, Johanna Doman and Joydayne White, believes their performances speak volumes of the talent that the country boasts, as they defied the odds to claim one silver and five bronze and those were complemented by credible placements in other categories.

“Having team Jamaica represent at the Carifta Championships for artistic swimming was a big accomplishment for the country and for the girls to have qualified to make it to that event shows the potential of our athletes,” Chin Sang told SportsMax.TV.

She pointed out that attending events like these are important, as they introduce athletes to different levels of competition, and the manner in which the athletes displayed their prowess among more illustrious competitors, augurs well for their continued growth and development.

Artistic swimming, previously known as synchronised swimming, requires athletes to perform coordinated or identical movements in time to music, with performances lasting several minutes.

“Our delegation of three athletes was the smallest federation team at the championships, but having those three athletes place in the top eight for their category was an accomplishment. There is always room for growth, not just for each swimmer, but for the national team as a whole. The sport is growing across the island, and it is our aim to have a larger team representing at future championships,” Chin Sang declared.

That said, Chin Sang reaffirmed her commitment to bring heightened appreciation to the sport and its athletes, and, as such, renewed calls for sponsorship and support.

“My overall objective is to have the sport and its athletes recognized on both the local and international scene. The girls representing at the prestigious Carifta Championship for Artistic swimming was a great achievement. The girls gained knowledge, experience and managed to bring home 14 awards while representing their country even with the limited resources and support given,” Chin Sang shared.

“The sport is an expensive sport, but I refuse to let the finances or background of an athlete stop them from achieving and utilizing their God-given talents.  Our next international meet is in May, and we will continue to make big splashes of success with our little stars, as we continue to seek support and sponsorship for the team of 22 athletes,” she ended.

Team GB’s first male artistic swimmer is thoroughly satisfied to have earned the respect of friends who once asked why he did not just play football like everyone else.

Ranjuo Tomblin is one of 12 British artistic swimmers hoping to top the podium at the European Games this week in Krakow, but the 17-year-old knows he will be making history no matter what the result.

When he and Beatrice Crass slip into the pool for Thursday’s mixed duet technical event, Tomblin will also be making his milestone senior debut with Team GB.

“Definitely my friends at the start were like, ‘Oh, why are you doing that? Why aren’t you doing football, you know, the generic sports?'” he said.

“But as I’ve grown and developed and I’ve got a few medals in the bank, they definitely more respect what I do, now they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s a really cool thing you do’.”

Tomblin’s ambitions to erase stigma and stereotype around his chosen sport, once known as synchronised swimming, extend well beyond his circle of friends.

Artistic swimming is, like a duck gliding smoothly across a lake, an illusion of effortlessness when in reality it is anything but. Asked about the biggest misconception people hold, Tomblin’s answer comes immediately.

“That it is easy,” he said. “It’s not easy. A lot of people just think it’s having a play about in the water. It’s really not.”


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Training comprises working on everything from strength and conditioning to flexibility, knee extensions, toe points, breath-holding, swimming, stamina and timing.

Consider the feeling of, as American synchro coach Joyce Lindeman once put it, “running a marathon while holding your breath”.

Also it is set to music, and you are judged on how good you look doing it.

Tomblin spent nearly a decade in gymnastics and it was only by fluke that the woman coaching his “normal” swimming lessons at Atlantis Flamingos also happened to be the synchro coach.

Hearing about his gymnastics background, she asked if he wanted to give artistic swimming a go.

“I immediately loved it. It’s really grown from there,” said Tomblin, though he admits there was an adjustment period, adding: “It definitely did feel a bit weird, especially with the first team I joined.

“There were no boys, it was full of girls and it was a bit awkward and it was hard to make friends, but I feel like after I joined the national squad everyone’s really lovely. We’re all good friends.”

A landmark December 2022 World Aquatics decision paved the way for male artistic swimmers to compete at next summer’s Paris Olympics, which will now allow up to two men in the eight-athlete team event.

Tomblin won silver at the inaugural male free solo event at the 2022 LEN European Junior Championships as well as bronze alongside Cass and, while he is certainly open to the possibility of the team event, mixed duet – appearing for the first time at a European Games – is Tomblin’s speciality.

Mixed duet is not on the programme for Paris, but December’s announcement allowed Tomblin to be cautiously optimistic that his event could feature at the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.

“When I first heard that, I felt really excited and hopeful,” he said. “Because now they’re like, ‘Oh there’s loads of boys so let’s let them in the Olympics’… then hopefully that will lead towards the mixed duet going into the Olympic Games.”

While records will fall and champions change, there can only ever be one person who does something first, and Tomblin is delighted by the role he could play in ensuring he will not be the last.

“It would mean so much to me,” he added. “I’m working so hard because I’ve seen males older than me, like (Team USA’s) Bill May. I look up to him and he inspires me so much. I’d like to inspire someone – that would feel really nice for me.”

Robyn Chin Sang, the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) vice-president with responsibility for artistic swimming, believes the performance of the country's young stars at the recently-concluded Worldwide Invitational Meet augurs well for the continued growth and development of the sport locally.

Chin Sang's pride was very evident, as she reflected on the manner in which a 18-member team from the Island Aquatics Synchro club, displayed their prowess among more illustrious competitors from various countries, in Coral Springs, Florida.

The athletes accompanied by two coaches and one official, secured 25 medals ---15 gold, 4 silver and 6 bronze ---bettering the 10 won by an eight-member team last year.

"The competition was much harder this year, as we had more competitors from different clubs and countries and more advance swimmers. So, it wasn't easy, but our girls did very well in putting the winnings in the bag and embodied the through Jamaican spirit of little but tallawah," Chin Sang said.

She pointed out that attending events like these are vital to the sport's continued development as they introduce younger athletes, in particular, to different levels of competition. However, the fact that the team had to conduct fundraisers to pay their way didn't escape her and she is now optimistic that their performances will assist in getting corporate Jamaica on board with the sport.

Artistic swimming, previously known as synchronised swimming, requires athletes to perform coordinated or identical movements in time to music, with performances lasting several minutes.

"These competitions give the girls the experience and drive to continue in the sport and encourage them to keep working hard to get to the new level that they witnessed on international stage like these. 

"So, we are very proud of the way they held their own and ensured the country's flag kept flying high. All 18 athletes returned with at least one medal, all our girls placed in their routines and eight of them placed in figures. In addition to that, they had four awards for placing in top 12 in figures, as well as three best figures titles in three different age categories," Chin Sang shared.

"The success of the team will have a greater impact not only on the athletes but also on the wider Jamaican community. We will have more swimmers being interested in the sport and hopefully more sponsorship will come on board from the corporate companies to help the growth of the sport and its athletes," she added.

On that note, Chin Sang lauded the unwavering efforts of Coach Olga Novokshchenova and her Island Aquatics family for their dedication to assisting the athletes by providing the training and opening up the possibility to take part in global artistic swimming competitions.

"We will continue to train for our next local competition, to take place on a date to be confirmed and then we will go from there. But the aim is always to give off our best for the athletes," she ended.


The Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) is brimming with pride over the advances made in the discipline of artistic swimming.

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