Welcome to Monday Memories! This is my very first weekly feature on the blog and I’m crossing my fingers that I can keep up. I have always loved it when people share old photos or home videos. I’m fascinated to see what people used to look like when they were young or find out interesting things about activities they participated in. I have a bunch of old pictures and videos that go along with great memories and I thought it might be fun to share a photo or video each Monday!
This week’s memory was inspired by a recent lunch conversation about unusual activities we participated in as kids. I mentioned to the group that I used to do synchronized swimming…well here is the proof…
This photo is of my synchro partner Kristina and I doing the “deck work” of one of our routines. I’m not exactly sure what year this is…I did synchro between the ages of (I think) 11ish – 17ish? I thought it was 7 summers but I can’t remember my exact years of doing it. I just know it was through some middle and most of high school. My mom signed me up (and my sisters as well when they were old enough) because we were always at the pool in the summer and she had really enjoyed doing synchro at that same pool when she was younger.
The first year or so I was assigned a routine with a group of newbie girls with similar skill level…but soon it was discovered that Kristina and I could do some pretty good duets. Now…when I say pretty good…this is relative to the skill set of our local pool. In Middlesex, the community pool offered this activity…but it was just that…an activity. It was NOT competitive…at all. We didn’t get scores…we didn’t go to synchro meets…we didn’t need to worry about being PERFECTLY in synch. All we did…was try some new tricks each year…help the younger kids learn the basics…and eventually put together a show of routines. We were known as the Middlesex Aqualites :-).
Lucky for all of you…I found a home video of our show from the year 2000. I forget the official title of the show but basically we were performing to songs from movies. Kristina and I had 2 routines that year…the first was You’ll Be In My Heart by Phil Collins from Tarzan. The second was Angel by Sarah McLaughlin from City of Angels. We were both I think 15 at the time. Just after our freshman year in HS.
Before I set you loose on this video…there are a few things to know or keep in mind as you watch:
1 – Please don’t have super high expectations…like I said this is definitely NOT competition level synchronized swimming…but at the same time, competition level can look very “cheerleader.” Our shows were designed to look more smooth like dance. We are not always in perfect unison…we did have an underwater speaker…but sometimes it is just hard to know exactly what the other person is doing…watching this now we probably should have done a few more dry runs (out of the water).
2 – The pool we are in is 12 feet where we start…and we get down to about 8 feet…but we never touch the ground to do any of the tricks…including the lift…the one in the pool that is.
3 – The first routine includes our very first hard pairing move where we actually had to link ourselves together and spin around and have our feet meet! (time: 2:10) I remember it took us literally ALL summer to get that right…was it PERFECT for the show? No…but we did pull it off and we were proud!! It was so hard!
4 – The view from above (where this was filmed) is a bit different than if you were watching with the rest of the audience on the side….on the side some of the things might look a bit nicer…because you don’t see what we are doing underwater so much.
Synchro may look easy or lame…but honestly it is pretty hard…particularly keeping your legs straight while keeping them in the air out of the water while not touching to floor of the pool…and attempting to not sink…if you don’t believe me…try it yourself…it’s a great ab workout! Since having done synchro…I am so amazed at competition level synchro teams. Especially in the Olympics. The tricks they do are crazy hard…and to keep a larger group in perfect unison with fast tricks of hard choreography…it’s nuts!!
One of the most memorable things about doing the synchro show was the gelatin we had to put in our hair! It was called Knox! In order for your bun to stay in place…about an hour before the show we all had to get our head plastered with the stuff! Up close it looks crazy and gross…but from the water (where your hair looks wet anyway) we looked nice and neat! But it took a pretty long shower with multiple shampoo-ings to get it out! I have a picture of me getting Knoxed up somewhere…when I find it I will probably share!
A lot of people ask why synchronized swimmers wear nose clips. It may seem like we don’t know how to keep water out of our noses…where most people know that just breathing out of your nose will do the trick! The answer is…it actually helps you hold your breath longer. When you are vertical upside down…you MUST blow air out of your nose or water will definitely get in…the nose plugs allow the synchro swimmer to be completely upside down and hold their air in…and slowly release it…which helps in holding your breath!
And look what I just happened to find as I was thinking about this post!
That’s right! I still have my good 'ole nose plugs! And despite my messy hair…I couldn’t resist trying them on for old time’s sake!
Did you do any unusual activities as a kid? Have a question about synchro? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to check back next Monday for another fun memory!