Kettlewell achieves Rio dream with family looking on
Published 7 September 2016 (AEDT)
SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING: When synchronised swimmer Danielle Kettlewell looked into the stands at the Rio Olympics she saw not one but almost a dozen friendly faces looking down at her.
The 23-year-old was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, but now calls Australia home.
Making her Olympic debut at the Games, she was joined by 11 family and friends all decked out in green and gold and the Australian flag.
“I’m the youngest of five children so I have my parents here, my oldest brother Damian, my eldest sister Monique, my brother Matt, my other sister Genevieve, my sister-in-law Jennifer and my best friend Mara, her mum Carmen, my boyfriend Lexi and his best friend Scott,” Kettlewell said.
“It means the world to have everyone here with me, it means the world to me that they were all able to come and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. I’m so lucky to have them all here with me.”
With the Australian synchronised swimming team including eight debutants and only one returning Olympian in captain Bianca Hammett, the eighth place overall ranking after the team free and technical routines was a learning experience which will carry the team in good stead as they eye improvement at Tokyo 2020.
Danielle’s mum Carmel Kettlewell said her heart filled with pride when she saw her daughter in the Australian uniform.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be here with my daughter. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“I just wouldn’t have imagined we would have all been at the Olympics watching her. It’s just an amazing feeling. She got involved in synchro because of my suggestion – she did gymnastics and ice skating and then she wasn’t really keen on them that much. It took a couple of years and then she really took off. She just made such wonderful friends and really enjoyed going to synchro.
“It’s such an honour. We’re very proud of her for all of her accomplishments and achievements in this and the rest of her life.”
For brother Matt, the Games were the cherry on top of a big few years in which Danielle moved from Vancouver to Australia and then qualified for the Olympics.
“It’s been very emotional watching Danielle go through this transition. She’s been training for two and a half years with the team.
“It’s just very exciting to see her in person. I wanted our whole family to be here and we all made it. I’m really happy for everyone.”
Matt’s wife Jennifer, Danielle’s sister-in-law, summed up the family’s emotions.
“It’s just been so emotional to watch Danielle’s hard work and sacrifices over the past couple of years pay off.”
With Danielle the youngest of all the siblings, Genevieve, who is 14 years her senior, was overcome with excitement talking about the Olympic debutants hard work.
“I can’t believe she has worked so hard to be here, she’s sacrificed so much put in so many hours of training and gave up school and she’s worked really hard I’m really proud of her,” Genevieve said.
While Danielle’s eldest sister Monique McKee said it was the realisation of her youngest sister’s sporting dreams.
“It’s been awesome. It’s just amazing we can all come together as a family and watch her compete. It’s been absolutely fabulous watching our little sister have her dream come true.”