A young girl in Wallingford is pursuing a somewhat surprising sport. She is a synchronized swimmer, and part of the Seattle Synchronized Swim Team.
Photo courtesy Eva Gonzalez-Abad
Irene, 12, has been doing “synchro” for several years, although it began as pure play, according to her mother, Eva Gonzalez-Abad. “What captivated her was the grace and beauty of the movements and the swimming to the music and also the team atmosphere: without team work, this sport is nothing,” Gonzalez-Abad wrote.
Gonzalez-Abad says this sport is “serious stuff.” Irene’s club belongs to the Pacific Northwest Association (PNA), and part of the national synchronized swimming association, USA Synchro. “The club is the best and most successful in the Pacific Northwest, and we have girls of all ages on the US National Team,” says Gonzalez-Abad.
The sport consists of two different parts or skills: “figures” and “routines.” Figures are all the different positions and evolutions they have to master in the water and they are judged, given scores, and ranked. This part is essential, since the swimmer can become eligible to be part of the National Team of her age group if she gets placed high enough in the Nationals. Some of these figures are mandatory for age groups and they have to do some of them in a season at all meets.
Routines are the “dances” they do, with music and measuring time. Here they are judged both technically (how difficult a choreography is and how well-exectued it is carried out) and artistically too. That is part of the importance of swim suits and head pieces and grace and style. The routines come in four varieties: solos, duets, trios and team routine.
To learn more about the synchro team, visit the PNA website. The team also has free tryout days, the next of which is in March.