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The OPRF synchronized swimming team practices in the West pool

The OPRF synchronized swimming team practices in the West pool

The OPRF synchronized swimming team practices in the West pool

Synchronized Swimming

It’s 6:30 on a Tuesday night. Most students are home doing homework, eating dinner, or maybe catching up on their favorite shows. A few, though, are hard at work in the OPRF weight room, preparing for the few months ahead. Most people would assume it is the lacrosse team, or track, or maybe even tennis, but they would be mistaken. The students belong to a team many in the school might not even be aware of – synchronized swimming.

When most people think of synchronized swimming, they think of an obscure sport that is dominated by Europeans that is only broadcast during odd hours of the morning during the summer Olympics. But Synchro isn’t just a leisurely activity partaken in jest by patrons of a country club, like movies like Caddyshack would suggest. It is actually a beautiful and graceful display of not only the athletic ability of a swimmer, but the coordination and technical skill of a dancer. As such, it requires as much hard work and dedication as any other top-tier sport.

People often overlook the hard work it takes to stay in shape for such a strenuous sport, that requires not only cardiovascular strength but also technical skill in the water. “We have three two-hour practices a week, and then we have one three-hour practice on Saturday,” said Senior Katherine Bromley “on Tuesdays we’re in the weight room or having a study hall from 6 to 7 before our practice from 7 to 9.”

“I think that we tend to get underappreciated. Because we’re such a niche sport, people don’t understand how much work really goes into it,” said Coach Tiffany Kinser. “These girls put in so much work in the off hours and they get held to the same study table standards that any other sports do. But in addition to all that, this is also something where you have to keep a smile on your face because it’s still a performance.”

Synchro performs in their 2016 show, “21st Century Synchro”

But, like any other sport, the hard work comes with its benefits. “I did Synchronized Swimming for four years in high school and I came back to coach it because I missed it. I was drawn to it because it was athletic but non-competitive which is a great combination because I didn’t feel the pressure but still got a great workout and have a lot of fun,” said Kinser.

Bromley agrees. “I’ve been doing Synchro for all four years of high school. It’s really rewarding and the group is like having a bunch of sisters.”

In that vein, Kinser has encouraged OPRF alum who have participated in Synchro to come back and help. “We really like to foster a family feeling in the team, so we welcome any kids that have graduated to come back to help and choreograph and demonstrate. I just want everyone to feel like they have a home there.”

Synchro performs in the spring every year, and this year’s theme is “Synchro Las Vegas.” Performance dates are April 20, 21, and 22.

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In sync at OPRF