In 2008 Tauranga's Eva Morris was given the task of researching synchronised swimming as part of a school project about the Olympics.

She knew nothing about the sport and admittedly she wasn't too happy with the topic either.

Fast forward 10 years, and Morris has dreams of representing New Zealand at the 2024 Paris Olympics in the sport she seems to have found by chance.

The 20-year-old - along with Tauranga Synchro club members Karlina Steiner, Isobel Pettit and Eden Worsley - is in the final weeks of preparation for the Brazil and Argentina Opens in November as part of the New Zealand Aquaferns squad.


Two international competitions within a short time frame can only be a good thing, says Morris. It means they can use the judges' feedback from their first event and go into their next one knowing what to improve.

"You don't often get two shots," Morris, who refers to herself as the 'grandma' of the team, says.

And with a supportive coach, Morris is confident they will do well with their racecar-themed routine come competition time.

That coach is three-time Olympian Lara Teixeira Cianciarulo, who is the national head coach and the Tauranga Synchro head coach.

"We really appreciate everything that she has done, she works so hard, she's such a motivating coach for us.

"We're so lucky because we get here every day."

Morris has big goals in the sport too, and with the help of Cianciarulo, she believes they are attainable.

"My goal is to make it to the Olympics in 2024, it's a realistic goal."


Morris says their national team is a strong group who continue to go from strength to strength.

"You really gel after training long term and getting to know each swimmer."

Morris says synchronised swimming requires a lot of strength and dedication - something she could only fully appreciate when she got involved.

She remembers the sport being forced on her as part of a school project. She had to research an Olympic sport and she was given synchronised swimming.

"I didn't really like it at first.

Her teacher at the time knew someone who did synchronised swimming and Morris went along to watch.

She saw the "sparkly togs" and her interest grew.

The more research she did on the sport, the more she became to appreciate the strength involved. She says the thought of incorporating dance and gymnastics in the water sold her because she loved all three.

"I loved swimming and gymnastics but wasn't really great at either of them."

Now, she is a high performance athlete who does a lot of strength work in the gym on top of her efforts in the water and has never regretted her decision to take up the sport.

And she has no plans of stopping any time soon.