Olivia Federici lauded the impact of coach Masayo Imura after teaming up with Jenna Randall for a career-best finish at the World Championships.
The former Portsmouth Victoria ace and her Great Britain team-mate claimed their best-ever placing in the duet technical competition in Barcelona on Sunday night.
The pair ranked eighth after being awarded a score of 87.800 for their routine in the final.
That bettered their finish in the event at the last world championships in Shanghai in 2011 by two places, while Federici and Randall were 11th in Rome in 2009 and 20th on debut in Melbourne in 2007.
And Federici knows the key factor in their improvement has been coach Imura. She joined the British set-up in May to work with the pair, having guided China to team silver and duet bronze at the London 2012 Olympics.
‘She has really helped us – especially on the technical elements in our routine,’ said Federici.
‘She has brought in a lot of different techniques – like sculling techniques – which have really helped our height and stability in our routines.
‘That helped us in the routine we swam out there.
‘Also, having a different approach, a different view on the routines to give that different style and take it up that extra level has been really positive.
‘She’s been a really positive part of the team with us and we have really enjoyed working with her over last two months.
‘It has been really enjoyable as well as hard work.’
Federici and Randall were 9.500 points behind the Russian duo of Svetlana Kolesnichenko and Svetlana Romashina, who claimed gold ahead of the Chinese, who took silver, and bronze medallists Spain.
The British pair also made a slight improvement from their score of 87.700 that placed them eighth in the preliminaries for qualification for the final.
And Randall admitted she and Federici could not have asked for more.
‘We were really focusing on the element execution,’ she explained.
‘We wanted to do better than we did in prelims, especially with the crane element which is halfway through the routine.
‘It felt really good and really synchronised.
‘We felt really good as a unit in the water, which is fantastic.
‘We haven’t really felt like that in a tech programme for many years, so it was a really good swim.’
n Britain’s athletes are funded by UK Sport as the nation’s high performance sports agency responsible for the strategic investment of £355million of National Lottery and Exchequer funding in Olympic and Paralympic sports preparing for Rio 2016. The ambition is to win more medals than in London 2012 while building a stronger more sustainable high performance system. More details at uksport.gov.uk