MHS Students Gain International Recognition

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The United States Synchronized Swimming teams complete their routine at the 2011 Brazilian Synchro Open.

Julia Govan and Katie Hoskins

To spectators, Synchronized Swimming may seem tame compared to the rougher contact sports that most Miramonte participate in. However, synchronized swimmers senior Heidi Homma, and sophomores Tori Yee and Grace Moran know that this sport is more than just choreography and sparkly costumes.

“You need the endurance of a runner, the grace and flexibility of a ballerina, and the lungs of a pearl diver,” Moran said.

Although all three girls on on the United States National team, they each belong to separate divisions that perform and travel separately from eachother.

Homma, Yee, and Moran practice about 20 hours a week. They spend their time at practice perfecting moves used in their routines, like sculling, a move in which swimmers use their arms to suspend themselves underwater.

Sculling is one of the most important skills for a synchronized swimmer. “It takes years of practice to master,” Homma said.

Being a member of the national team requires an even higher level of commitment.

“You’re with the best the best of the best,” said Yee. “Training is really intense.”

Despite the hard work, Homma says being on the National Team does have its benefits, especially all the traveling the team does. Competitions are held around the globe. During her time on the team, Homma has competed in Brazil, Spain, and China.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Homma said. “You get to see the other teams from all over the world and how they are trained.”

During the World Championships in China, the US National Team placed ninth out of the 40 countries that were represented. At competitions, teams are judged on their technical skills and contestants swim their routines three times each for a panel of judges. Each routine takes at least a month to master, but can propel a team to the top with one competition.

Moran traveled to Canada, Serbia and various parts of the United States with the team.
“Serbia was the most bizarre and scary,” Moran said. “It was really foreign. They didn’t even have toilet paper.”

All three swimmers, are unsure of how far synchronized swimming will take them. Homma dreams of participating in the 2016 Olympics or attending college on a scholarship. Moran, on the other hand, sees the commitment as too stressful in addition to her academic workload and won’t be continuing with her synchronized swimming career after this year.

Yee plans to continue with synchronized swimming for at least the remainder of high school and maybe college.

Homma credits her high goals to inspiration from other athletes.

“It’s amazing how, regardless of the results, they keep up with training,” Homma said.