This article isn’t going to follow convention, as the author isn’t usually the main subject. That being said this is a little embarrassing to write, but let’s get on with it. Truthfully, the writing isn’t half as embarrassing as the makeup I’m wearing in the pictures and nothing can compare to having one’s hair shellacked back into a high bun for hours on end. This sounds like an awful lot of complaining, but even with the somewhat crazy things that we do in synchronized swimming, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Leesa Pennell
Leesa Pennell

So what is the purpose of this article, then?

At the very least, I’d like to inform people of the existence of the University of Toronto’s synchronized swimming team. While not considered a varsity sport (it fell out of status in 2002), the synchronized swimming team does represent our school at a national level as part of the Canadian University Synchronized Swimming League. In fact, U of T has had a pretty good record and this year we even made it to the championship meet. Unfortunately, we did not manage to place in the top 10. There were some significant changes in team membership and with that considered, we managed to improve!

During my undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario, I had the pleasure of being on the novice level synchronized swimming team and that’s where I fell in love with synchro. Regular practices were fun and challenging; combining two of my favourite things into one, music and swimming. Synchronized swimming ensured that I stayed on top of my coursework and that I had something to look forward to after long days of studying in the library. Even now, after a long day in the lab, it’s a nice release to think about something completely different.

Of course, I’ve faced challenges. Making the transition from a novice level team to the more competitive team meant that I was swimming with very experienced athletes; many of whom have been doing synchronized swimming since they were children. It felt like I was joining the NHL after only having played on a house league hockey team. It was also tough knowing that my day wasn’t going to end when I was done in the lab but that there was still a 2-hour practice late that same night. With all that in mind, I have found synchronized swimming to be a very rewarding activity. Three work outs a week have kept me in good cardio shape for running and swimming; I’ve improved my flexibility, and most importantly, I’ve made some great friends. Surprisingly, many of the swimmers are in science and in graduate school in the Faculty of Medicine (which is awesome!).

As I’ve said, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t  have it any other way.

For anyone who might be interested (males included), our season is over for this year. We swim from September to February, 3 times a week and no experience in synchronized swimming is needed. However, you should be able to swim well and be confident in the water. We will teach the rest! If anyone would like to talk more about it, please get in touch with me at leesa.pennell@mail.utoronto.ca. I would love to get more people out on a novice level for next season.

synchro-collage-immpress

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Leesa Pennell

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