Heathdale flower 29th October 2020

Ashley Recognised as Champion of Girls' Sport

Ashley Seow, champion Synchro swimmer, recognised by Wyndham Council as a champion of Girls’ and Women’s sport.

Heathdale flower

Synchronised swimming champion and Year 7 student, Ashley Seow, has always been a young gun. As it stands, she is currently the youngest swimmer on the Victorian team and has participated in Synchronised Swimming National competitions since the age of seven. She began her synchro career at the age of five, only three years after she first took to the pool to learn how to swim.

By then she was already winning Midget Meets in record time. Her British coach in Singapore had never taken on a five-year old before, but Ashley’s swimming prowess made her the exception.

Her biggest achievement so far has been taking the gold for her Solo routine in the Under 12 category at the Nationals in 2019.

Ashley has always had to swim up an age group to keep the competition fair. Occasionally, her talent becomes a hindrance, like when her duet partner aged out of Ashley’s group. Finding another partner in her age group that can keep up with Ashley could prove difficult.

Swimming Through Lockdown

Lockdown has been tough for Ashley, who’s used to jumping in a pool five days a week for training. Synchro isn’t the sort of swimming activity you can do in a backyard pool. Her toughness has shone through in this time, as she’s used the time to work on her strength and flexibility. Ashley is very competitive, and that’s probably the biggest thing she’s missed this year, “Just being able to compete and have the opportunity to see other people’s routines. It’s good to have that exposure and learn from different countries to see what moves they put in.”

This year has put a few things on hold, including Ashley’s next big moves up the Synchro ladder. “I was meant to try out for the 13-15 National Youth Team,” she explained. “It goes the Youth team, junior team and then the Olympic team. If you get in, you go to the AIS and train with brilliant coaches.”

Recently, she was named in the Wyndham Champions of Girls’ and Women’s Sport recognition program. This year, the committee selected 48 inspirational sportswomen in Wyndham who have done great things for girls’ and women’s sport. “I feel special being recognised for my sport,” said Ashley. “Not a lot of people know about synchronised swimming. Or they know it, but aren’t really sure how much effort goes into it. I feel like it’s important to get it out there and let people know how hard I work and how much effort I’m putting into the sport.”

Tough Sport

Ashley is happy to see the barriers to sport falling for girls, with a lot more soccer and football teams around. Synchro is faced with the opposite challenge… getting boys and men involved. To continue to be recognised as an Olympic sport, it cannot be gender-biased, so countries have to be able to field a women’s and men’s team. “For a long time it was more of a feminine sport,” said Ashley. “But I think it’s really cool for boys to be involved, because it’s a really tough sport.”

With training five days a week, and competitions on weekends. It’s a lot to manage for a girl who’s also working hard in Year 7. “You have to plan your time wisely,” she explained. “When you’re doing school and when you have to train and work hard. Hanging out with friends, it’s really difficult to say no when you have to get to training and you really can’t miss it. Sometimes you have to give up something you love.” Competitions are different though, said Ashley: “They’re are a really big opportunity, so I’m not thinking I’d rather hang out with my friends than go compete.”

Hopefully Ashley will be able to get back to what she loves soon at Golden Fish Synchro, and maybe one day we’ll spot her in the pool at the Olympics.