The Olympic pool at the Bobby Bonds Sports Complex in Riverside, recently showcased the Athens bound U.S. Olympic synchronized swimming team.
The sport gained Olympic status in 1984 and can be thought of as gymnastics under water. The two disciplines of synchronized swimming are the duet and the eight girl team competition. The routines are practiced and refined up to ten hours a day. More than just aesthetics, synchro athletes embrace a combination of strength and flexibility while executing each movement to music.
Four years ago in Sydney, former J.W. North High School swimmer Tuesday Middaugh competed as a member of the U.S. synchronized team at the Olympic games. As a standout prep swimmer, Tuesday trained as a member of the Riverside Aquettes where she learned her craft in synchro. She eventually teamed up with Anna Kozlova (formerly of Russia) and the pair were very competitive at the 2000 games, finishing the duet competition in fourth place and missing a bronze medal by a narrow margin.
This years synchronized team will have another local athlete from Riverside. She is Stephanie Nesbitt from Riverside Poly High School. Stephanie joined the national team after her sophomore year at Poly and is a member of the eight girl team discipline. Stephanie is the youngest Olympic team member at age 19.
The sport is quite beautiful to watch and can be seen on NBC, CNBC, and Bravo channels. Both American teams are expected to do well and their routines will be judged by two sets of scores on a scale of ten. One score for execution of required elements and the other for artistic impression.
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