Portsmouth artistic swimming teenage star Daisy Gunn dreaming of Paris 2024 Olympics after fine senior Great Britain breakthrough - and mum Alison is helping raise sport's profile

Ambitious Portsmouth prospect Daisy Gunn is aiming high and determined to achieve a lifelong dream of competing at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 2:42 pm
Updated Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:17 pm
From left - Daisy Gunn, 18, her mother Alison Gunn, and Laura Turberville, 18. Daisy and Laura have just competed in the Senior European Championships for artistic swimming, in Budapest. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The Drayton-based artistic swimmer has already twice been involved in international events with the Great British senior squad and she's still only 18.

Most recently, Gunn, a former Purbrook Park pupil, and her fellow GB team members returned to competition for the first time in more than a year - finishing seventh and fifth respectively in the technical and free team events at the European Championships in Budapest.

Prior to that, the former Portsmouth Victoria swimmer was part of the Great British squad who won silver in the free team competition at the Paris World Series two years ago - in what was her debut event competing at senior level.

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Unfortunately for Gunn, the pandemic brought competition to a halt; however, last month's European Championships marked GB's return.

In the short term, she will return to the junior ranks for the final time at the European Championships in Malta at the end of this month.

But, although focus currently remains on another competition to participate in, Gunn cannot help but cast an eye on the future as she bids to make a mark at senior level.

She said: 'That is the aim (getting to Paris 2024).

‘Our next big goal is the worlds next year which is in Tokyo.

'We aim to score high there and place in the top 10, which is a very big goal at the moment.

‘Hopefully, we’ll do that and then we’ll go to the qualifiers a year later and a year after that it’s the Olympics - hopefully.

‘It’s sad (leaving the juniors) because we missed a year because of coronavirus so we’ve only had one year of being junior.

‘We’re literally training every day up until then (junior Europeans). At one point I think we’re training 16 days in a row.

‘We have quite a young senior team and I think the youngest one there (at Euros in Budapest) was like 16 or 17.

'It’s going to really help the team because we’ll look stronger and we’ll have a lot of experience in the team, which will help massively.'

Artistic Swimming has been included in every Olympics since 1984, but only three countries – Russia (10 medals), USA (5) and Canada (3) – have won gold medals in the discipline. Japan, China, Spain and France are the only other nations to have won silver and bronze.

In order to progress onto both England and Great Britain level, meanwhile, Gunn moved from Portsmouth Victoria to Reading Royals in her early teens.

The switch has allowed her to go on and reach international standard, but the increased travel to Berkshire - and for training at England and Great Britain's Bristol base - has brought an added financial strain.

UK Sport does provide some money to cover costs of travelling to competitions and other expenses.

However, with Great Britain team members coming from across the country, a group of mums have come together in a bid to raise funding and awareness of artistic swimming.

Daisy's mother, Alison, is among the group who have set up a GoFundMe page in order to raise finances for the squad.

Alison said: 'You’ve got coaches, pool costs, so four mums were asked to set up a fundraising group and we’ve been trying to raise funds since the start of the year.

‘It’s just the four of us who are trying to raise money and awareness as well.

‘We’ve been asked to raise £20,000 to spread across the costs of competitions and to pay for pool time.

'We’ve got an Instagram now, we’ve got a Facebook and we’ve got Twitter going, so us four mums have been very busy.

‘This £20,000 will go across all of it (GB set up), the seniors, juniors and youth.'

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