The Red Deer Synchronized Swim Club officially kicks off their season Sept. 6.
“If we get stragglers in for the next week we’ll accept them but the 12th would be the deadline,” says head coach Annette Wegner.
Wegner has been involved in synchronized swimming for the past 30 years, so she knows a thing or two about the sport.
Synchronized swimming in Red Deer begins at the age of 6 with the Aquasquirts and goes all the way up to adult. “In the current year we’ll have a 22-year-old who had been swimming and has taken a break and is now married. She has a job as a lifeguard and decided she’d love to come back because she loves the sport.” That’s right guys a sport. Synchronized swimming is a sport.
Being competitive in this sport is like baking a cake — you need a lot of ingredients, the grace of a ballerina, the strength of a body builder, the flexibility of a gymnast and the endurance of a marathon runner. You combine all that and you have one heck of an athlete.
“It’s a lot more than floating around in water. The biggest misconception is that it’s not a sport,” said Wegner. “In the east there was a boy who was dared by friends to try synchronized swimming. He was a hockey player and injured himself so he could no longer play. He went and tried it out and he said it was the best workout he’s ever had.”
Now this kid was brave enough to accept a dare and before you say anything about this kids masculinity, think about it. He accepted a dare to practice everyday in a pool with girls — tell me he doesn’t have his priorities straight. Trust me, this kid had the last laugh — a great workout while surrounded by girls.
So what does it take to get into synchronized swimming? It’s more than just walking into the pool and swimming a lap. It’s more than just chasing your kid down a slide and then climbing back up those stairs. Yeah, that seems tough but it hardly compares. Imagine getting into the water and doing something for four hours. That’s just a part of what it takes to be a competitive synchronized swimmer.
Luckily there’s recreational synchronized swimming, Aquasquirt and adult synchronized swimming. These are all great introductions to the sport. They allow you to get involved without the pressure of competing. If you are going to get into this sport, even if it’s recreationally, Wegner said there are some commonalities with participants.
“The first thing is they have to have a love of water. A lot of girls that come into the sport, their parents say they were a water baby.”
Wegner also sees girls from other sports. “We get a lot of girls from dance and rhythmic gymnastics. They already have an idea on how to be in a routine of sorts”
Having a dance background is helpful, but not all girls will have that. That’s why it’s important to get them in sync (no not the band, although some of their songs would have worked in the late 90’s). And that’s easier to do with a team of one, than it is with a team of eight.
And keeping eight girls in sync is much easier when the song is just right. “You have to choose music and moves that they like and want to do so they’re proud of it because they’re more likely to stay on the count if they like what they’re doing.”
And what they’re doing is more than just dancing in the water. If that’s all you think they’re doing in synchronized swimming there’s still room at the Red Deer Synchronized Swim Club if you want to see how well you ‘dance’ in the water.