Discover Masters World: Mayumi Ochiai (JPN)


Mayumi Ochiai (JPN) - credit: Sarah ChiarelloFinding a pool nearby in Japan is quite a challenge and Mayumi Ochiai is a case in point. Living in the crowded centre of Tokyo, the 28-year-old takes half an hour in her car to get to the pool where she practices synchronised swimming twice a week, between two and four hours, with her coach.

But distance is no obstacle for Mayumi, who came all the way to Gothenburg (SWE) to compete and enjoy her third World Masters experience, after Stanford (USA) in 2006 and Perth (AUS) in 2008.

Mayumi was inspired to begin synchronised swimming at 19 years old, thanks to her brother’s friend’s mother who coaches synchro in Japan. She was attracted to the sport, which shares many similarities with another of her passions: “I learned ballet when I was a child so I was interested in synchro,” she confides.

Synchronised swimming is a great combination of swimming and dancing, and as a result, offers many possibilities for body expression in the water: “I like being upside down and synchro, like dancing, focuses very much on body position and I like that aspect,” she continues.

Mayumi swims Solo and Team events in Gothenburg and with her teammates from the JHCC Water Waltz club she took gold in the 50-64 age group, out of five teams.

At the end of her routine, Mayumi, who is the youngest in her team, noted: “The competition level is very high,” adding that she feels nervous before each competition.

Overall, Masters synchronised swimming at world level continues to enjoy a good popularity and the 2010 edition was well-represented with nations from all continents, except Africa: Oceania (Australia), Asia (Japan), Americas (Canada, Mexico), Europe (Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Slovakia and Sweden). Canada and Switzerland were the countries with the most clubs, 13 and 10 respectively.