In a sport which demands its athletes to demonstrate incredible strength, artistry and precise timing, it is unsurprising that synchronised swimmers must dedicate their lives in order to gain the edge over their competitors.
But for Team GB synchronised swimming duo Kate Shortman and Izzy Thorpe, who will compete for a place at the Tokyo Olympics in May at a twice-postponed Olympic trials, this has come naturally.
The pair - both aged 19 - believe that in addition to a gruelling six hours of pool training a day, working together for half of their lives has yielded a twin-like nature that has helped them excel in their sport.
Thorpe said: “Because we’ve spent so much time together, we've morphed into one person.
“We're very similar. A lot of people tell us our mannerisms are similar, and that we look similar.
“Whenever we go to Italy, people will just come up to us in the street and tell us we’re twins!
“In synchro it's really important that you move in a similar way. You have to be parallel and have similar ideas.
“It is really good that we have similar mannerisms and we move the same. I don’t know if that’s because we've spent loads of time together or if it is just who we are, but it works quite well for us. We’re like a married couple!”
Despite their natural synchronisation, the pair - who both competed at the 2017 and 2019 World Aquatics Championships - are aware that they have to work hard to impress on the global stage due to preconceived views judges have of Team GB synchro.
“It is such a subjective sport,” Shortman said. “So obviously, the way that judges are marking goes off previous experience and opinions they've already formed.
“It is frustrating, but in a way it makes us swim harder - it motivates us.”
Thorpe said: “Synchro is quite biased, so because we're from Great Britain, the judges will automatically rank us in a certain way. I think the years when we weren’t doing so well stick in their mind.
“With countries like Russia and Spain judges already automatically think they're going to be really good. They will get high marks because they've got the name.
“We want to prove them wrong, though. We want to show them that we are better than they think we are.”
The Team GB athletes are keen to use their growing profiles to raise awareness of world issues, and in 2019 they performed in a pool full of bottles in order to bring attention to plastic pollution.
Shortman and Thorpe plan to continue this campaign by working with eco-friendly brands, and hope to use their platform to tackle other issues such as girls dropping out of sport when they reach puberty, and the neglect of synchronised swimming in the UK.
Synchro is an optional event at the Commonwealth Games and was last seen in Delhi in 2010. It is currently not set to be included at Birmingham 2022, and both Shortman and Thorpe are eager to help raise the profile of their sport.
Shortman said: “Synchro is quite a neglected sport and I think it is such a shame that it's such a minority sport, because it's a great community.
“We're trying to get the Commonwealth Games to accept synchronised swimming. It would be amazing for the sport, and such a boost in publicity, especially because it would be in our home country and we would pretty much be guaranteed a medal.
“The more we get our name out there, hopefully we will be able to continue increasing the exposure of the sport.”