Sara S: Synchronized Swimmer

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Grade: 8

Q: Why and when did you start synchronized swimming?
A: I started synchronized swimming in fifth grade (2011) because I had stopped doing Girls on the Run and my mom wanted me to do something in addition to ballet. I realized that I had always been really good at ballet and swimming, so I figured, why not try them together as one sport?
Q: Are you planning to go to the Olympics when you are old enough?
A: I am not planning on going to the Olympics because generally, the USA National Synchro Team only accepts girls from the west coast who are home-schooled and practice for eight hours a day. It would be amazing if that opportunity were presented to me, but I don’t think it’s ever going to happen.
Q: What’s the hardest thing about synchronized swimming?
A: The hardest thing is probably trying to make your routine look effortless. You have to swim with no goggles and bobby pins digging into your head, and you have to keep track of the counts to the music and the corresponding movements. Even when your lungs are screaming for oxygen, you have to stay submerged or risk messing up for your entire team.
Q: How many times do you train a week?
A: I practice three times a week (Monday, Thursday, and Saturday) for three hours each practice.
Q: Do you have to hold your breath the whole time?
A: There are two major components to synchronized swimming called figures and routine. Figures are individual parts used mainly for showing essential skills that could be put into a routine, but also make up half of the score at the end of a meet. Some figures require you to hold your breath for a while, but for others, your head may be submerged for ten seconds or so. Routines are just like they are in dance or gymnastics, really. There are a couple compulsory elements which must be incorporated, but the rest is up to the choreographer/coach. Routines have things kind of like figures in them, where you may be upside down and not allowed to breathe for up to thirty seconds. So, for routines, you don’t have to hold your breath the whole time because there are arm, body, and head movements too, but probably 50% of a three and a half minute routine is underwater without breathing.