The Michigan synchronized swimming team placed sixth overall at
the North Regional Championship in Columbus this past Saturday.

“We’re going to the nationals,” Michigan
co-head coach Rebecca Trombley said.

The road to this championship tournament was not an easy one.
Team practices are three times a week for three hours each.
Sophomore Ericka Picciotto said that practice consists of laps,
stretches, land drilling and run through routines in the water.

“Land drilling is an arm movement that corresponds to leg
movement done in the water,” Picciotto said.
“It’s a way for us to practice our routines outside of
the water.”

This technique allows the team to practice at home and other
places where a pool is not necessarily available.

“The routines are set to music, so land drilling really
helps us concentrate on counting the movements and staying on a
steady beat before we even get in the water,” Picciotto
said.

Sophomore Katie Davis, who is new to the team this year, said
training outside of the pool includes “aerobics, workout
videos and stretches.” These things help with flexibility
when the team is in the water.

“Synchronized swimming is not based on time like
competitive swimming,” said Junior Kelly Monahan, who swam
competitively in high school.

“(When) you have six to eight people doing the same
routine in the water, you have to all be doing the same thing at
the same time,” Monahan said. “In competitive swimming,
time was the only obstacle to overcome.”

Davis says that swimming and school take up all of her time.

“I do not work as much and I cannot volunteer anymore,
because the routines are hard to learn, but the coaches and my
teammates work with me,” Davis said.

Monahan said that getting to know diverse group of girls is a
“growth on its own.” People from different regions of
the U.S., different backgrounds and different swimming experiences
are all welcome in this club sport. Considering the fact that the
team is rebuilding, Picciotto feels there is opportunity for
growth.

“I didn’t swim in high school, so this team, for me,
is a nonacademic challenge that pushed me to new heights,”
Picciotto said.

Synchronized swimming blends the flavor of music, the
flexibility of gymnastics, the leg strength of dancing and the
breath control of swimming.

“Swimming is a bond — we not only share our
friendship, but also out past experiences with one another,”
Monahan said.

Michigan’s synchronized swim team will host the U.S.
Collegiate Synchronized Swimming Tournament March 25 -27.

“This tournament includes 30 schools and 300 athletes
across the nation,” Trombloy said. “We have been
planning on hosting this event for about two years, and with the
cooperation of recreational sports and the help of Canham
Natatorium facilities director Chris Onstead, this event will
finally happen.”

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