Sunday, March 23, 2014

History in the Making

This is a picture of the result, but what did it take to get there?

A lot of hard work and perseverance.

Lindenwood Synchronized Swimming is now the Collegiate National Champions! We swept first in all the routine events (Solo, Duet, Trio, and Team) and as you can tell from the picture, we're all super excited. In this picture is 3 amazing coaches, and 20 extremely hard working girls. Not shown, are 3 of our teammates who cheered us on from Lindenwood campus and are just as much a part of this victory as the girls who are seen above. 

This weekend, LU History was made.We pushed limits and aimed for a goal that 6 years ago could not have been dreamed of.
The Collegiate National Title.

So how did we make it? This is how.
First off the wall routine: Usher

Reem, Laia and Aly busted out an amazing medley of Usher songs with an EXTREME amount of Energy. These girls make me smile every day, and they're just the kind of crazy to be able to pull off this routine. Synchronized Swimming likes that "classical" or "movie" music. Simple. No words, an easy melody...Usher is definitely not what was expected. They entertained like they were holding their own concert. What an amazing thing to watch.
Next up: Fall of Rome

Caroline, Hannah and McKinzie are three girls who, against different practice schedules and hardly any full runs, came together for a performance. The music was more "synchro" but they made it their own. They're such amazing girls and I'm so proud to call them my friends and teammates. I love these girls to death and they did an amazing job.
Three depicting seven: Deadly Sins
Myself, Dennise and Anouk pulled together a routine to depict all Seven of the Deadly Sins in a 3 minute block of time. Difficult, but possible. There have been many times I couldn't have survived practice without these two. Momma Killman made some gorgeous suits for us to rock while we swam, and we made that routine ours. I never wanted a Trio, but this routine and these girls have made me appreciate and even, dare I say it, love swimming trio. All of our work was paid off with a Gold Medal in the Trio event! Love you girls!!
 Duet Time: The Game Has Changed/Mirrors
Reem and I came together as one for a duet that literally depicted an internal struggle. Call it Mirrors, mention how some of the music is from Tron, but the Game definitely changed when we took to the pool. Our walkout was mirrored, and directly next to each other, which is never done in the Synchro community. Then with one or the other acting as a reflection of the other, we swam our way to 1st with energy. Gotta love ya Reem. We worked hard for this, and I'm so happy it paid off. I definitely couldn't have done it without you!
The one that made them Cry: Daniela
I don't think there was a dry eye in the entire arena after this girl swam. Daniela swims with a passion and love of the sport that can be matched by no one. Two years ago, she couldn't speak a word of English. Today she's one of my greatest friends and one of the hardest workers I know.

                                                                     Feeling Good: Me
I swam to a dubsteb version (Yes, I said dubstep! There's a jump away from traditional Synchro...) of "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone. My favorite compliment, was that my swim was the reason someone actually LIKED watching solos! Sometimes they can be boring, it is SYNCHRONIZED swimming after all. How do you synchronize by yourself? You'd be surprised. Thank you to EVERYONE who helped me earn a 90 in score to take 1st place.
The Jungle: "Be the Tiger"
Regardless on if we're Lions or not, one of the freshman said this before the routine swam. It just shows the personality of this team. Hannah, Caroline, Carmen, Kirsten, Emily, Kelli, Simona, and Nathalia, you girls are a class act with personalities to match. Great job embracing your animals and truly bringing The Jungle to Life.
Out of this world: Aliens

Who would've thought that Kanye West and Beyonce could be Alien themed? We did. And that's what makes yall special. Anouk, Reem, Dennise, McKinzie, Aly, Irene, Laia and Amanda are a group of girls that can make anything seem the way they want it. Y'all are definitely a group of performers if I've ever seen them. Congratulations on your 1st place placing by just that much. Aly, MVP for sure. For those who want to know why, watch the video. First Lift. I've never heard people cheer so loudly for a team.

Our team had a set of goals and we were going to reach them. From my experience here at Lindenwood, I've learned that sometimes it takes going against what is the "norm" to set higher standards.

I'm so Proud of my Lady Lion teammates. Congratulations girls!


Monday, March 10, 2014

The Importance of a Team

First off, I'd like to apologize for this blog being so delayed! I've had a lot on my plate lately. Our team competed at Regionals and swept Gold in all the routine events! This means we put a hitch in Ohio State's 23 year regional championship list of titles. Exciting and definitely one for the history books. But we're not done yet! Still collegiates to go and we're working harder than ever.

However that's not what this blog post is about. I recently received an e-mail on my facebook page ( from a woman who has two young daughters who both compete in a sport that I hold dear to my heart. Synchronized Swimming.

If you know anything about the sport of Synchronized Swimming, or even if you don't, most notice it is a team sport. Sure, it has Duets, and Trios, and even solo's! I myself am a soloist, but while a routine by yourself can be impressive, it just doesn't have the same feeling as when you are surrounded by 7 of your teammates. The image of walking proud across the deck, diving in the water before performing a (hopefully) flawless routine with lifts soaring into the air and amazing scores at the end all before all 8 of you, screaming like 10 year old girls, are hugging and celebrating your hardwork and amazing friendships...

Sometimes however that's not the case.

Sometimes it's difficult to work in a sport where estrogen runs rampant and puberty hits at seemingly all ages. Sometimes you don't get along with everyone. Sometimes you just really don't want to go to practice because Shannon said something about you to Tanya who told Abby who obviously had to inform Lisa about it before the entire scenario got back to you two weeks later and your feelings were hurt over it.
Sometimes it happens.

But what can we do about it? Honestly, nothing. Girls will be girls, boys will be boys, and people will spread rumors long after the sun sets. What we can do however, is learn and understand that as a TEAM you are strong. Without each other, you can get no where...or at least it's a lot harder. 

At this point, we think cohesion is impossible. Hold steady my friends, it's not. Anything is impossible if you set your mind to it. I was sitting in my management class today, where we went over a chapter about Teams. There was a story of an athlete who truly did not enjoy being around his teammates. However, they had a pact that as a team, they were unstoppable. As a team, they were the best of friends and could celebrate in the wins and mourn over the losses. As a team, they could do anything. Whatever personal problems they had were left at the gate before walking onto the field. The moment that jersey went on, it was a new life. It was a time where there are no worries, no problems, and no issues...only trust, courage, spirit, and a want to succeed. 

This is what a team should learn.
Trust. Courage. Spirit. Want.
Team is not spelled with an "i" for a reason! 

Babe Ruth was a true team player. Not everyone liked him, but he had his share of respect. A great teammate is someone who truly puts the team before themselves. Someone who cares about the essence of his or her teammates.

After all, you could have a Bobsledding team full of Olympic Gold Medalists in Luge but unless they learn to work together, they may end up upside down after a sharp turn. You could put together a Rowing team of 8 individual record holders in singles and still not place on the medal stand if they don't work together to synchronize the catch and release of each stroke. If they ignore the others, the boat will not travel at it's fastest pace. 

Teamwork. It's important if you wish to get anywhere.
Enjoy the journey, nothing will be easy, but teammates make it bearable.

Thanks for reading! Don't forget to check out my website, or my facebook page! I'll do my best to keep my blog posts updated. :) Keep sending me questions or comments and I can talk about them in my next blog post! Have a great day!