Thorpe and Shortman claim British Artistic Swimming Award

Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe compete at Roma 2022 – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

Olympian Isabelle Thorpe and Kate Shortman have been rewarded for their impressive performances across 2021 and 2022 by receiving the ‘Outstanding Artistic Swimmers’ at the annual British Swimming Awards in Manchester.

The duet followed up their maiden Olympic appearance, at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games, with career-best performances with the British team at the World and European Championships.

“This means a lot to us,” said Thorpe after collecting the award.

“We’ve worked really, really hard for this in the build up to the Olympics and through lockdown when we only had one another to dept upon and it was really good to have that support from one another.”

Shortman continued; You know it’s not just the duet, it’s the team as well so we’re really honoured to be here today and receive this award.”

Their nomination document called them a “credit to our sport and our nation” for their commitment to training for artisitc swimming and pursuing funding opportunities which have enabled them to enhance preparations for key competitions.

Since the Olympics the pair have completed their first year at university and are part of the new High Performance Centre in Bristol.

The European Games in Poland and World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, are their two major targets for 2023 as they continue their build-up towards a Paris 2024 Games bid.

“The Olympics, that was everything that we were hoping it would be, but I think obviously Paris there will be an audience there which will be a bit different,” said Thorpe.

“It’s only a year and a half now which is really not that long, so we’ve just got to keep the passion for the sport going and we’re really excited about the lead-up to Paris 2024.”

Their coach, Paola Basso, was also honoured with the ‘Outstanding Artistic Swimming Coach of 2021-22’ award in honour of her “tireless” dedication to preparing the duet for the Tokyo Olympics.

Basso has also taken on new challenges in 2022, focusing on the Junior Priority athletes.

This group of six athletes has delivered two duets, two mixed duets and a male solo.

At European Juniors, the mixed duet came away with a bronze medal, while the male solo result produced a silver.

“It is a great honour for me, because this achievement has taken long, long years of progress, hard work and having an amazing time here in the country and going to the Olympics with Iz and Kate,” she said.

“It was very special and a real dream-come-true.”