Synchronized swimming for life
By Asha B., Virginia
“How did you get into it?” This is a question that I have been asked approximately one thousand times after committing my life to synchronized swimming. Every synchronized swimmer has been asked this more times than they can count. It’s not the most well-known or popular sport around, but once you try it, you get hooked.
I fell in love with “synchro” at the age of 8 at a health club in Minnesota, not knowing then that it would change the entire trajectory of my life. Many years later, I just finished my 16th season of coaching at the college level on the East Coast.
“When are you going to give it up?” is another question I’ve been hearing more and more lately. My life is pulled in many directions and often the thought of having to go to practice until 10 at night overwhelms me. However, once I get to the pool, everything changes. No matter how tired I am, my team fills me with energy, and I’m ready to work. The stresses of the day melt away, and I focus completely on this unique and challenging sport.
For the people who ask me that second question, my answer is usually “I don’t know how I could ever give it up.” Synchro has become a part of me. It’s a piece of my identity. The swimmers on the team each year become family.
Although I normally coach from deck, I jump at the chance to swim when I can. Being in the pool with my athletes, I feel like that 8 year old in Minnesota again, enjoying every moment of being in the water. From underwater I have a different perspective to help best critique and advise my swimmers. It’s much easier to make small adjustments to their technique and body position from in the water. I try to take advantage whenever I have this opportunity.
Personally, I miss swimming desperately. With my busy schedule, it’s hard to find the time to get to the pool. I more frequently find myself walking or running when I can open my front door and start instantly. I appreciate not ending with wet hair that immediately needs to be washed and dried.
Still, there is no way that hitting the pavement will ever replace the rush I get from diving into a pool. I actually tried doing masters synchronized swimming once back in 2008. I would love to give it another go, but there is always an excuse readily available. Swimmers know how hard it is to get back in swimming shape. Even with all the obstacles, I would love to recommit myself from in the pool rather than just along its edge.
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