Arizona Synchronized Swimmers Combine Skills Of Several Sports
By Becky Thompson
Imagine a gymnast performing under water, swimming a 400-meter freestyle without taking a breath. Now add artistic flare, grace, elegance, and power. This is synchronized swimming.
There may be some out there who doubt the validity of synchronized swimming as a sport, but anyone on the Arizona Desert Dolphin team will prove them wrong. The Arizona Desert Dolphins is a nationally ranked synchronized swimming team in Mesa.
Athletes range in age from 5-18, and come from all walks of life. “When we started the Desert Dolphins, our goal was to reach out to the community and teach them the beauty this sport has to offer. With that, our mission was to make sure there is a place for anyone on this team. Everyone is welcome,” says Coach Becky Thompson.
Synchronized swimming is an Olympic sport combining the characteristics and skills of many sports. Watch a routine and you’ll see similarities with water polo, gymnastics, ice skating, and ballet.
The Arizona Desert Dolphin competitive team just returned from the United States National Age Group Championships, in Oxford, Ohio. Hours of training each week have paid off for these athletes.
Smiling and sweating their way through (yes, athletes still sweat, even in the water), they placed 11th in the nation. “This is the largest synchronized swimming competition in the world, featuring over 1,000 athletes. Our athletes worked extremely hard to qualify. They are young and motivated and they swam their hearts out,” said Thompson.
The Arizona Desert Dolphins provide two programs for the community. A recreational program offers athletes the opportunity to sign up in three-month sessions, while still having the opportunity to compete. This program provides athletes an opportunity to try Synchro, but not commit their entire lives to it. With only two workouts a week, athletes can still pursue other avenues, be it Girl Scouts, band, piano, church functions, etc.
The competitive program is for athletes who have tried Synchro and know they love it. They have more competitions each season, including traveling to different locations throughout the country.
They also practice between three and four days a week. They set goals and work hard to achieve them.
The Arizona Desert Dolphins is a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization. For more information on the Arizona Desert Dolphins team and clinics, visit their Web site at www.azdolphins.com.