One of the most elite collegiate synchronized swimming programs in the country, the Wheaton Synchronized Swimming team, recently placed first against Boston University and Smith College at the Wheaton Invitational in Balfour Natatorium. The team won out all four routine events deservedly, honoring them with first place at the invitational.
“There is definitely a lot of pressure being one of the top teams in the country,” said senior Janine Kopeski ’15. “The pressure comes from ourselves as a team because we all joined this team to be competitive and dedicated to the sport in which we all love.”
Wheaton has a synchronized swimming program that ranks amongst the top programs in the country. The team has placed top ten at the U.S Collegiate Championship’s since the 1988-89 season, placing as high as 5th back in the 2001-02 season when they hosted the competition, and most recently placing in 6th place this past 2013-14 season. The team looks ahead to hosting the East Collegiate Regional/ECAC Championship this upcoming weekend where the team previously ranked 2nd out of 6 last season.
So far in the 2014-15 campaign, the women have competed in four meets during what will be a taxing, nearly five month long season. Back in November of 2014 was the first meet that kicked-off their schedule. The team hosted another regional powerhouse program, Boston University, at the New England Figure Meet in Balfour Natatorium. They took first place in all three-figure categories, which began their season on a strong foot with aspirations of placing even higher at the U.S. Collegiate Championships in the upcoming spring against the best synchronized swimming teams in America.
“Some of our goals this season are to improve our execution, our patterns, our height out of the water, our lifts, and to have interesting and creative choreography,” said Kopeski. “This January we focused a lot on our choreography and all of our routines making sure they are complete and very unique.”
The endless hours of training would pay off in early February as the Lyons traveled to Ohio State University to swim at the Jessica Beck Memorial Meet, only to fall short to the hosting Ohio State Buckeyes and place 2nd out of 6. Wheaton scored a 58.0 point total, which was higher than national rival programs Michigan, Stanford, and Miami University. “We are still working on our execution, our patterns, our height out of the water, and our lifts,” said Kopeski. “We have made progress towards these goals but these are still our focuses for ECAC’s and Collegiate Nationals.”
On the road to the ECAC’s, regional rival Boston University would attempt to redeem their previous defeat against the Lyons by hosting Wheaton at the Boston University Invitational earlier this month. The white and blue would again place ahead of Boston by winning every figure and routine category at the meet. Senior two-time All-American Kayla Moses ’15 ranked first overall in the solo routines with a score of 76.9333, while classmate Janine Kopeski ’15 finished second with a score of 72.5333. Moses and first-year Andreina Rojas ‘18 took first place in the duet competition receiving a score of 75.1333 points. Senior Riley-Callahan-Mayo ’15 and junior Ann Marie Brasacchio ’16 followed in the duet category with a score of 69.1333 points. Sophomore Emma Willing ’17 teamed up with Kopeski and Rojas in trios to place first with a mark of 71.1667. Sophomore Emmeli Gordon ’17 would join her six teammates for the team routine where they registered a score of 75.9500 points to clinch first place at the invitational.
Most recently, the team hosted Boston University and Smith College in the Wheaton Invitational where seniors Callahan-Mayo, Kopeski, and Moses would have their second-to-last home meet as Lyons in Balfour Natatorium. The seniors were honored for their contributions to the program and their success in finishing top seven in the past three U.S Collegiate Championships. Kopeski, Willing, Rojas opened up the meet with a first place finish in the trios with a score of 70.9000 points. Rojas and Moses finished with a score of 74.2667 with their duet routine getting them first place honors in the category. Callahan-Mayo and Brasacchio placed second in the category with a score of 67.9000 points. Moses and Kopeski would go on to place 1st and 2nd in the solo routine category as Moses received a score of 74.5667 points while Kopeski received a mark of 72.0000 points. The seven ladies would compete together in the team competition finishing in first place in the category registering a score of 71.9167 for their routine, ending the Wheaton Invitational with the Lyons clinching 1st place. This was a great culmination for the senior class to finish their last home invitational competition by winning their second consecutive Wheaton Invitational.
“The Wheaton Invitational was a solid meet,” said Kopeski. “All the routines were much improved from our first two meets which is encouraging. However, we still have plenty of work to do before ECACs and Collegiate Nationals in terms of polishing our routines.”
The Lyons will host the East Collegiate Regional/ECAC Championships this upcoming Saturday, February 28 at 12pm in Balfour Natatorium and will travel to Ohio State University at the end of March to compete in the U.S. Collegiate National Championships.