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The Scarlet & Black

Synchronized swimming syncs up with Grinnell

Elizabeth+Collinger%2C+Amelia+Johnson-Post+and+Clara+Larson%2C+all+21%2C+brought+synchronized+swimming+to+Grinnell.+Contributed.
Elizabeth Collinger, Amelia Johnson-Post and Clara Larson, all ’21, brought synchronized swimming to Grinnell. Contributed.

Absent for many years, synchronized swimming is returning to campus after being re-established in September.

On Sept. 6, walking past the Organization Fair held in the JRC with her friends Amelia Johnson-Post ’21 and Clara Larson ’21, Elizabeth Collinger ’21 said, “You know what I really want? A synchronized swimming club.” 

“I did synchronized swimming in high school! Let’s do it!” Larson reportedly said.

“She filled out the form and we were in,” said Johnson-Post, who is on the women’s diving team.

The three women established the club and had its first practice in the Natatorium last Sunday. The three founders attracted 15 students to join them by making posters, posting on Facebook and recruiting friends via email. 

“There was a mix of students coming to the training.” Johnson-Post said. “There are some swimmers who have backgrounds [and] some who have no synchro [synchronized swimming] experience. We’ve also got two dancers.” 

“It was so surprising! And the size is perfect for a team,” Larson said.

During the club’s first practice, considering most students’ slight backgrounds in synchronized swimming, Collinger, Johnson-Post and Larson decided to teach club members the basic skills. 

“We learned ‘the eggbeater,’ which is a way of treading water that keeps your head and shoulders out of the water while you do your routine. Then we learned ‘sculling,’ which is keeping yourself afloat with both your arms and hands. And we introduced ‘ballet leg,’ which is a proper synchro move where you lay on your back and lift your leg out of the water, ideally at 90 degrees,” Larson said.

Not expecting to see much progress in the first class, Collinger expressed her surprise as to how quickly the members got the hang of it and made improvements. 

“[Their improvement] is really exciting, because not a lot of students have experience … everyone is struggling together, but it is impressive how it worked out.” Collinger said.

Greatly encouraged by the successful training on Sunday, the co-captains eagerly expect a full routine at the end of the school year. 

“The main goal in synchronized swimming is to do a complete routine to a background song. It’s almost like dancing in the water for two to three minutes,” Larson said. “But this semester we will focus on learning skills, and next semester we will concentrate on building a routine.” 

Their ultimate goal is to beat down the synchronized swimming team of Carleton College… Regionally, only Carleton has a synchronized swimming team,” said Larson.

Students who appear on 1 p.m. every Saturday at the pool should expect “Fun people who are willing to laugh at themselves, because you do have to laugh,” according to Johnson-Post.

Contact synchro@grinnell.edu with any questions about the College’s new synchronized swimming group.

Elizabeth Collinger, Amelia Johnson-Post and Clara Larson, all ’21, brought synchronized swimming to Grinnell. Contributed.
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