Gold at British Synchro Champs for Bella

Year 9 pupil, Bella Harris-Johnstone, competed at the British National Synchro Championships in Nottingham last weekend, taking Gold in the Team Free Combination with her club, Rushmoor.

Bella, who took up synchronised swimming just 2½ years ago, has had unusually steep trajectory in the sport. Rushmoor's chief coach, Louise Wooley, expressed her amazement at the rapidity of Bella's ascendency; never before had an athlete progressed from novice to Champs Squad in 2 ½ years – the usual timescale is 5-6 years.

The team's routine, performed to the music of Queen, was packed full of tricky lifts which gave their routine a high degree of difficulty. The team were full of energy over the full 4m30 routine, with lots of changes in pace and movement across the whole length of the pool.

Bella was right at the centre of the action – at one point being perhaps 8 foot in the air after being launched off the shoulders of the girl immediately below.

"This clearly is the highlight of Bella's synchro career so far, and we are all completely delighted at this resounding success," said Rick Johnstone, Bella's father. "Stonar's helpful and enlightened approach to allowing and enabling the various practise sessions that have taken place during school hours, plus the latitude extended with regard to work load, has been a very positive and strong factor in Bella achieving this outcome. The approach Stonar has taken with Bella is, to me, a model of helpful, sensible and very proactive support for the athlete – and look at the results!"

Bella and the Rushmoor team will now perform the routine at the LEN European Aquatics Championships at the London Olympic Pool in May.

"We are always keen to support pupil's individual ambitions and we are delighted with Bella's achievement. Not only is she talented; she is motivated and committed and deserves every success both now and in the future," said Dr Sally Divall, Head of Stonar.