Jennifer Knobbs

Jennifer Knobbs

The 2012 Olympics may be sixteen months away but synchronised swimmer Jennifer Knobbs is already looking forward to representing her country in front of a home crowd.

I caught up with her to talk about her preparations and what she hopes being under the Olympic spotlight with do for British synchronised swimming.

- London Olympics- just around the corner, how excited are you about competing next year?

Extremely excited! It’s like kind of a feeling that you can’t describe because it’s so far away, but yet it’s so close.

- So do you think the home crowd would be a big advantage then?

A huge advantage. I think it’s really important to have a home crowd; because you get that excitement, you get that energy, you get that support that you wouldn’t get elsewhere. 

- The British audience doesn’t get much chance to watch synchronised swimming. So what can we expect in 12 months time and what do you think your chances are of a medal?

Our chances of a medal, I’m not sure, that’s not really our goal, our goal would be is top 6; I think maybe looking towards the future in 2016 definitely, but we have to build a foundation first.

Especially since this is one of the first times that actually Britain has competed in the Olympics as a team in the many years, so this is like our debut.

- What are your ambitions for 2012?

We are hoping to come top 6, but we are also hoping to really build a foundation for the next crop of synchronised swimmers.

It does take a while to step up in the world, and we are looking to go out and showing that Britain is amazing, we are good and we are a force to be reckoned with.

- Are you looking forward to seeing events outside of your own?

Definitely, swimming is always one of my favourite ones, it’s always so exciting. And then I would also like to see some gymnastics and some horseback riding if I can.

My sister is in horseriding and all my family is coming over, so it would be great to enjoy her sport with her and learn a little more about it as well.

- So in September 2007, you kind of centralised at the barracks in Aldershot, so do you think you have benefited from this movement and how good are the facilities there and what do they add to your performance?

Well, centralising as a team is very important because synchronised swimming is obviously a team sport and you have to be put many hours in together, and you also have to be quite good friends; you need to know each other and know how to react to each other.

The centre here is absolutely incredible and we also have Bisham Abbey that we train at on Saturdays. 

All the staff like our gym coaches, strength coaches and our nutritionists, physiotherapists and our psychologists are based at Aldershot so that makes a massive difference. 

We also have the pool here so we can jump in whenever we want and the amount of hours that we put into it is very important.  

- What involves a typical weeks training for you?

Well we have quite long days. On Mondays we start at 7am in the morning and we get in the water for an 1hr and a half speed session at 8am to 9.30am.

We then do synchro’ until 12.30pm and then we’d have a lunch break and then come back at 2.30pm and do some more synchro’ until 5pm.

That’s on Monday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, we go right from 7am to 1pm; 2 hours of that is usually a gym session and the rest is all synchro’.

On the Saturday, we’re down at Bisham Abbey and we do a 4 hour gym session and drills on flexibility.

- So it sounds like you’ve got a busy schedule there. What do you do to relax and chill out when you’re not swimming?

I love going to the movies or just watching TV at home, and sleeping of course, I love my bed 

- What’s been your favourite movie for the past couple of months?

The last one I watched is the Blind Side and I absolutely loved that. It’s such a good movie I know it’s quite old but it’s so good.

I watched Limitless last night which was very good. It was a great film and Bradley Cooper looked hot in it.

- What competitions have you got coming up in the next few months?

Well we have few competitions coming up, the big one is in Sheffield that’s the European Championships and that’s the end of May, it’s also going to be nice because it’s a home crowd, so it’s just the smaller version of the Olympics but it’s still really important meet for us.

We have the World Championships in China and that’s in July- that’s another huge meet for us.

- What are your expectations of the Europeans?

We went to the German opens earlier this March and we were so close to beating France, and I think that if we just give that extra little push, and that extra little bit of fire, I think that the best way to describe it,  I really think that we can pull ahead.

France and Italy are big rivals so it’s always great to get one over on them. France are very similar to us. It’s like a stepping stone and you kind of have to take each country at a time. Slowly but surely we’ll make our way to the top.

- Back in 2008, team GB did really well in Beijing. How well do you think they can do in London, do you think they can better the medal tally that they had 3 years ago?

Definitely, I think team GB will be a force to be reckoned with again, with all the funding, and effort that everyone’s is putting in, like the sponsors, even the government is funding these athletes’,  and giving them what they need- I think that it’s really going to pay off.

- How did you get into Synchronised Swimming in the first place?
 
When I was younger I did dancing, gymnastics, and a bit of diving and I also passed all my swimming badges by the age of 7.

I saw synchronised swimming on TV once and I absolutely fell in love with it. I then went for a try out in Ontario, because I’m from Canada.

We tried out at one of the best clubs there and the main coach, who has actually been my coach for my whole life snatched me up and said ‘she definitely has talent and we want her’.

- Finally, as you said you’re from Toronto initially, how did you come to represent the UK?

Well I’ve always been a British subject, I’ve always had a British passport because of my dad, my dad was born in Stafford and I still have family over here. I wasn’t really enjoying swimming for Canada and I was given the option by my coach Fizz to come over here, and so I did.

- Are you glad you made the decision?

Oh I definitely made the right choice, I love the girls, I love the team I love the staff.

- Your family are based in Canada, do you get much chance to see them or do they come over very often?
 
My Dad sometimes comes over for work, but not that often , the last time I saw them was over the Christmas holidays. But they will be coming over in their droves for 2012, I can’t wait.

To Apply for London 2012 tickets visit www.tickets.london2012.com any time between now and 26 April

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

The 2012 Olympics may be sixteen months away but synchronised swimmer Jennifer Knobbs is already looking forward to representing her country in front of a home crowd.

I caught up with her to talk about her preparations and what she hopes being under the Olympic spotlight with do for British synchronised swimming.

- London Olympics- just around the corner, how excited are you about competing next year?

Extremely excited! It’s like kind of a feeling that you can’t describe because it’s so far away, but yet it’s so close.

- So do you think the home crowd would be a big advantage then?

A huge advantage. I think it’s really important to have a home crowd; because you get that excitement, you get that energy, you get that support that you wouldn’t get elsewhere. 

- The British audience doesn’t get much chance to watch synchronised swimming. So what can we expect in 12 months time and what do you think your chances are of a medal?

Our chances of a medal, I’m not sure, that’s not really our goal, our goal would be is top 6; I think maybe looking towards the future in 2016 definitely, but we have to build a foundation first.

Especially since this is one of the first times that actually Britain has competed in the Olympics as a team in the many years, so this is like our debut.

- What are your ambitions for 2012?

We are hoping to come top 6, but we are also hoping to really build a foundation for the next crop of synchronised swimmers.

It does take a while to step up in the world, and we are looking to go out and showing that Britain is amazing, we are good and we are a force to be reckoned with.

- Are you looking forward to seeing events outside of your own?

Definitely, swimming is always one of my favourite ones, it’s always so exciting. And then I would also like to see some gymnastics and some horseback riding if I can.

My sister is in horseriding and all my family is coming over, so it would be great to enjoy her sport with her and learn a little more about it as well.

- So in September 2007, you kind of centralised at the barracks in Aldershot, so do you think you have benefited from this movement and how good are the facilities there and what do they add to your performance?

Well, centralising as a team is very important because synchronised swimming is obviously a team sport and you have to be put many hours in together, and you also have to be quite good friends; you need to know each other and know how to react to each other.

The centre here is absolutely incredible and we also have Bisham Abbey that we train at on Saturdays. 

All the staff like our gym coaches, strength coaches and our nutritionists, physiotherapists and our psychologists are based at Aldershot so that makes a massive difference. 

We also have the pool here so we can jump in whenever we want and the amount of hours that we put into it is very important.  

- What involves a typical weeks training for you?

Well we have quite long days. On Mondays we start at 7am in the morning and we get in the water for an 1hr and a half speed session at 8am to 9.30am.

We then do synchro’ until 12.30pm and then we’d have a lunch break and then come back at 2.30pm and do some more synchro’ until 5pm.

That’s on Monday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, we go right from 7am to 1pm; 2 hours of that is usually a gym session and the rest is all synchro’.

On the Saturday, we’re down at Bisham Abbey and we do a 4 hour gym session and drills on flexibility.

- So it sounds like you’ve got a busy schedule there. What do you do to relax and chill out when you’re not swimming?


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