synchronized swimming santa cruz
September 2019

They Dance, They Swim, They Fly

Three Santa Cruzans Splash into Synchro

Extreme Adventures: September 2019

By Brad Kava

How do they know what’s going on when they are underwater? How do they align themselves so perfectly? You can’t help but wonder that when you see synchronized swimmers. We got to ask them those questions and more.

Although, they feel old for the too-unknown sport of Synchronized Swim, three Santa Cruz girls are excelling in the 13-15 year old category of the sport.

Scout Bauman, 13, Meredith Robbins, 14 and Annelise Robinson, 12, have been working out in Santa Clara with one of the nation’s most prestigious teams, the Aquamaids, which features only 16 of the most swimmers in their age group. Scout is home schooled, Meredith goes to Aptos High and Annelise goes to Aptos Junior High.

synchronized swimming santa cruz
Annelise Robinson, Meredith Robbins and Scout Bauman can see and hear underwater as they prepare their routines. Photo Credit: Kevin Painchaud

The team has medalled in Junior Olympics and the Santa Cruzans dream of medals in their future.

We caught up with them in a few rare free moments.

GUISC: What got you into competitive Synchronized Swimming?

SCOUT: I used to do Pool Guards with Seahorse Swim School. My friend Anna and I used to make up little routines in the pool and our coach would film us. Teacher Tiffany told us to look into a sport called synchronized swimming so we did a “try it” class. 

MEREDITH: I was a competitive distance swimmer and took a recreational intro class to Synchro in Los Gatos.

I had a background in gymnastics and dance, so it was a good fit. After the class, coaches asked if I wanted to compete for Santa Clara. 

ANNELISE: I enjoy swimming, dance and gymnastics. Synchronized swimming combines all three.

synchronized swimming santa cruz
Over water from a drone, synchro kaleidoscope Photo Credit: Kevin Painchaud

GUISC: What kind of training do you have to do? How much practice does it take?

MEREDITH: We do land workouts, strength training, lots of lap swimming, then practicing the routine, and treading water in the pool the entire time.

We train 6 days a week, average 3-4 hours per day.

synchronized swimming santa cruz
Credit: Kevin Painchaud

GUISC: What’s the hardest part of the sport, the best part and your favorite part?

SCOUT: Usually when you do synchronized swimming, you start at a young age, but because Anna and I only started two years ago, it’s hard trying to catch up to everyone else. My favorite part is probably learning the choreography, and getting to know the other girls on the 13-15 competitive team. 

synchronized swimming santa cruz
Credit: Kevin Painchaud

GUISC: Is Synchro an extreme sport? Is it dangerous? What are the goals and records to be smashed that you would like to accomplish?

MEREDITH: I think so. Swimmers can get concussions getting kicked in the head. Goal: to beat our rival Walnut Creek and a Gold medal at Nationals or JR. Olympics.

GUISC: How do you know you are doing the right thing underwater?

SCOUT: We can hear the music underwater so we can stay on count. 

synchronized swimming santa cruz
Photographer Kianna Hersey dove deep to catch the synchro athletes under water.

GUISC: Is synchro an overlooked sport, like fencing?

SCOUT: Usually when I mention that I do synchronized swimming, people never know what it is. This annoys me because it is probably one of the hardest sports there is and there is really no way to describe it. 

GUISC: Have your parents been supportive?

ANNELISE: Yes, they are super-supportive. It takes a lot of work to coordinate travel to San Jose six days a week. They are also required to work at Aquamaids Bingo 3-4 nights a month to partially pay for the program. 

GUISC: What other things do you like to do?

SCOUT: Aside from synchronized swimming, I enjoy drawing and playing the violin. 

ANNELISE: I also enjoy rock climbing.

 MEREDITH: My favorite hobbies are eating, watching Marvel movies, and I don’t have time for much else!

synchronized swimming santa cruz
Credit: Kianna Hersey
synchronized swimming santa cruz
Credit: Kevin Painchaud


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