The synchronised swimming team had their first home meet recently where they mesmerized the audience with their strong technique and graceful movements. The sport has always been a part of Wheaton’s history, with every team placing no less than 10th position in the national competition. This year, the team consists of six girls, with two solos, two trios, and one group performance competing. Other universities represented in the competition were Stanford University, which is the second-best in the nation, along with Boston University. Ohio State University, which is ranked best in the nation, was not present at this last contest with Wheaton but plans to compete very soon with the Wheaton Lyons. Wheaton’s team practices for about three hours a day, with two to three sessions a day and three sessions on weekends. The group begins training at the crack of dawn at six and watches the sunrise amid the clear blue water each morning. Although the sport lacks as much recognition as others, the exercise routine and regime are quite hectic, with demanding gym hours and extreme discipline. The team is only allowed two absences throughout the whole semester. They face the risk of disciplinary action with three or more absences, putting their position on the team in jeopardy.
When asked about their daily routine, Sydney Mclaren ‘23, a member of the team and a strong performer at Wheaton’s last competition, said “We train at least three hours a day. Over break, we were training up to ten hours a day.” Mclaren ‘23 and her teammates were asked to cut their break short to train for the competition, and also flew to California to compete against Stanford University. Although the attendance was strong at the meet, many people do not recognize synchro as the demanding sport that it is. They instead insist on the importance of other sports like swimming over synchro. When McClaren ‘23 was asked about this mentality, she responded saying that, “synchro should be more recognized as it is much more than the ‘olden days’ stereotype. Compared to many other countries, synchro in the U.S. is quite small. As a whole, the sport is trying to become more recognized as they have changed the name of the sport to Artistic Swimming to advertise the athleticism and creativity of the sport.”
Many among the audience marveled at the combination of dance and sport, the athletes stunning them with their leaps and spins, their bodies matching the rhythm of the music. Synchronised swimmers practice dance in the water without touching the bottom, and required a lot of stamina and breathing instruction to perform well at the competition. McClaren’s ‘23 passion for synchro came at a very young age. “I do synchro as it is a sport that requires much drive, motivation, and commitment in such a unique way, which is one of the reasons I fell in love with it. My dad is a swim coach and put me in the water as soon as he could. Unfortunately, I thought swimming laps was too boring and tried many other sports such as dance and gymnastics, but I never really loved them. Synchro combines beauty and extreme athleticism, which I find fascinating and complex. I love pushing myself and striving to get better, along with the team dynamic of the sport because you can’t do synchro without a team. You become so close because you are together so much, and the sport is truly dependent upon the bonds with your team.”
The results of the competition are as follows – Stanford first, Wheaton second, and Boston University third. The reaction to the results was inspiring, and McClaren ‘23 beautifully summarised their sentiments. “The competition was a stepping stone for us as a team as we have a lot we have to grow and improve before collegiate nationals. We were exhausted and sore competing and did not do as well as we were hoping. Still, we are feeling more confident going forward as we are a predominantly young team with lots to learn.” The Wheaton Wire wishes the synchro team the best of luck, and predicts outstanding results for the squad! #LetsGoWheat