In Synch: Local girls to compete in synchronized swimming nationals - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

In Synch: Local girls to compete in synchronized swimming nationals

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Posted: Monday, June 6, 2011 2:00 pm | Updated: 4:37 pm, Tue Oct 4, 2011.

The tricks they do in and under the water aren’t easy. Doing them in unison makes it even more difficult.

But the girls from a local synchronized swimming club make it look easy.

Two teams from the Arizona Aqua Stars Synchronized Swimming Team are set to compete in the USA Synchronized Swimming National Competition in Federal Way, Wash., from June 24 to July 2 after competing in a regional competition in Las Vegas.

The team is comprised of 40 girls from different cities around the Phoenix-metro area and they are broken up into smaller groups and compete based on age.

A team from the 11-12 age group and 13-15 age group will move on to the nationals in Washington.

Ahwatukee Foothills residents Smith, 8, and Eryn Schmisseur, 11, took first place in their solo competitions in the regional event. Schmisseur won first in the figure competition for the 11-12 age group and she and Aimee Liou won first place in the duet competition.

In addition to competing in the national event, Schmisseur will also be practicing with the Olympic synchronized swimming team in the coming months.

“It’s all about muscle memory,” said Schmisseur, who is a student at St. John Bosco Interparish School in Ahwatukee Foothills. “You work out the same one over and over until you can pretty much do (the routine) in your sleep.”

The head coach of the team is Ahwatukee Foothills resident Jill Parr, who has been involved with synchronized swimming since she was 7 years old.

“To do synchro, you usually have to be a strong swimmer and these girls are very good swimmers,” she said. “We are the strongest club in the Valley.”

The team routines last three minutes and they are judged on the technical aspect of the routine as well as control, creativity and difficulty.

“Synchro generally attracts girls who like to swim but might also be interested in gymnastics,” Parr said. “These girls like to perform.”

The season for the Aqua Stars goes for 10 months and begins in September. Practice time is spent swimming to build stamina and working on the routine. They start competing in January.

“The hardest part is being synchronized and holding your breath,” Smith said. “I saw them competing in the Olympics and I thought it looked like a lot of fun.”

For those interested in learning more about synchronized swimming, there will be an introductory session for beginners at Kino Junior High Aquatic Center, 850 N. Horne in Mesa, on June 11 from noon to 2 p.m. They also host summer camps throughout the months of June and July.

To find out more, visit www.azaquastars.org or call (480) 917-6754.

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