The Itasca Synchronized Swimming Club competed at East Sections on May 18 and had a very successful competition. A total of eight routines competed in the meet, including five solos, one duet, one trio, and one eight-person team. The team placed fourth in their division and will now compete at the Minnesota State High School League State Tournament held May 23-24 at the Rochester Recreation Center.
The Itasca team swam against four other East Section schools in solos, duets, trios and team routines. The top seven teams place at sections, but only the top four teams advance to state. The team’s head coach Jamie Mjolsness and assistant coach Hannah Madden work with the swimmers five days a week from March through May.
The Itasca team placed fourth at Sections and was swam by the eight team members: Amber Butterfield, Ashley Hamm, Sarah Kessler, Emily Malcolm, Bailey Mason, Olivia Roth, Tia Tracy and Cassie Vernig. They swam a three minute and 30 second routine to a remix of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme music.
Routines are choreographed to music and require synchronization by the team members. Swimmers can never touch the bottom of the pool, must hold their breath while performing complex leg maneuvers, and work together to lift the flyer completely out of the water. It is impressive to watch a synchronized swimming team because they must also move around the entire pool while performing. Swimmers advance from short to long to extended divisions by placing seventh or higher at state. Last year the Itasca team placed fifth at state, moving them into the long division, which requires a longer routine and entails tougher competition. Routines are scored on technical merit and artistic impression. Routine scores are ranked equally with figure scores to obtain the final scoring for each team. Figures are specific positions each swimmer performs individually with detailed requirements for control, strength, and flexibility. Figures judged this year were ballet leg, heron, kip, and front walkover. A team is scored on their routine, but the score is adjusted based on individual figures scores for each swimmer on the team. It’s critical that swimmers do well in both figures and routines to place at sections and state.
The Itasca Synchronized Swimming Club is self-supported and the only synchronized swimming club north of the Metro area. Synchronized swimming demands endurance and breath control underwater. It is an athletic, challenging, and rewarding sport. The club is open to any girl in area schools grade four through 12. For more information, check out the club’s Facebook page (Itasca Synchronized Swimming) or contact the club’s email at firstname.lastname@example.org.