It has been called the toughest underwater show on earth.

Spend any time watching synchronised swimmers training or performing and you can see why.

Holding your breath underwater for long stretches while performing intricate, physically demanding moves with split second timing choreographed to music, while never forgetting that winning smile, is something few can master.

Tauranga synchro swimming pair Jazzlee Thomas, 18, and Eva Morris, 19, know all about hard work. They train six days a week in the pool and at the gym to attain the flexibility and skill to take on the world's best.


And that dedication is paying off on the international stage for New Zealand's best duo.

Thomas and Morris are back home after achieving career high performances at the Canadian Synchronised Swimming Open.

In the senior category they won bronze medals in both the Tech routine and Free routine against some of the world's best athletes from Canada, Ukraine and Colombia.

The duo made a real impact with their Free routine which cleverly blended Maori music and choreography arranged by Tauranga kapa haka teacher Jane Sowerby. They also made a splash with their unique Maori themed swimsuits developed by local artist Iata Peautolu.

"We decided to do the Maori theme to our routine because it is our culture and we wanted to bring something new to synchro that no one ever has," Thomas said.

"Everyone was really amazed that we brought the haka as everyone knows it from the rugby so they were quite taken back with it. It was cool."

Morris says gaining experience and learning from the other teams were major positives to take from Canada.

"It was our first time with these new routines so it was giving us a starting point and getting experience and then building on that for world champs," she said.

"We are really confident and excited about the worlds. It is a much bigger competition so a medal finish is probably not in sight for us but we will be hoping to improve on our scores from Canada big time."

Thomas and Morris are coached by three-time Olympian Lara Teixeira Cianciarulo, 29. She captained the Brazilian team in Rio last year and moved to Tauranga last December.

Cianciarulo says their performance in Canada was really important to help prepare them for the world championships in Budapest in July.

"It means they can go to a bigger competition and not be afraid to test some things. They had some good feedback from the judges as well. I made some changes to the routine so we are improving week by week.

"This competition was awesome and to be at the high level and get third place is very positive."

Cianciarulo says making the New Zealand selection for Tokyo Olympics 2020 is the ultimate goal they are working towards.

"It is very pleasing for me to see they are getting better day by day, so that is really important for me to see the effort and improvement. The gap is getting really close and we are going to have them ready for 2020."

The public can see Thomas and Morris in action live when they headline the North Island Championships in Tauranga from June 9-10.