World's Largest Synchronized Meet Makes A Splash in Gainesville
Inside Sports named synchronized swimming one of the world's toughest sports. And, thousands of swimmers from across the country made their way to Gainesville to show off their precision, accuracy and dedication for a sport that requires perfection.
"It's a perfect mix of swimming, dancing, gymnastics," says Becky Lancer who coaches the Gainesville Gaviatas. It's the swimming, dancing and gymnastics that have brought over a thousand synchronized swimmers to the O'Connell Center for a weeklong competition, a competition that takes a lot of precision and coordination.
"Some people I think it's the ultimate team sport and I think that is true. My favorite part of of synchronized swimming would probably be when we get to work together as a team," says 12 year-old Sabrina Vega.
She has been here before, this is her second trip to nationals. She first got her feet wet when she was 8 and hasn't stopped since.
And her coach is a pro. Becky Lancer was part of the US Olympic team that won gold in 1996. She now coaches the Gainesville Gaviatas and says her transition from the water to sideline has been valuable for those she now trains. "It's been a learning experience but it's wonderful being able to pass on the knowledge I've gained over the numerous years."
Ages range from 11 to 19, but Lancer says if you've got the moves and skills at a younger age, you can join a team, like Vega. Her nerves still get the best of her. "It already has for my solo, duet and my team. Yes, nerves do but I try to turn them into good energy so it can help me instead of bringing me down."
The competition will continue through next week, wrapping up next Saturday. The 2009 US National Synchronized Swimming team will be making an appearance on Monday to show off their world championship routine. It is estimated the local economic impact from the competitions will bring in an estimated $1.3 million for the city.
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