Similar to gymnastics, many girls who practice synchronized swimming often start at a young age. This means a lot of sacrifices. For many of the McGill synchronized swimmers, they have given up their chance of being on the national team to get a college degree. As full-time students at McGill University, one of the best universities in Canada, the members of the McGill Varsity Synchronized Swimming team have worked very hard to become National Champions 9 years running.
Preparing for the University National Synchronized Swimming Competition has always been difficult, but the McGill Synchronized Swimming team has managed to make everything work. While juggling work and part time jobs, these girls are very dedicated to practicing – on average 17 hours per week! Although they can be overwhelmed by the stress of synchronized swimming, school, and work, their passion for synchro has taught them to prioritize and to be efficient with their time.
Yet the most difficult part about their sport is the lack of respect they receive. People tend to relate synchronized swimming to Austin Powers side diving into a pool with a flower cap while walking along the bottom. Synchronized swimming is not as easy as Austin Powers may portray it- just grazing the bottom of the pool is against the rules of the sport. In addition to holding their breath for an extended amount of time, they are constantly fighting against gravity to keep their body above the water. Perhaps it’s because of the lack of respect that, even after winning university nationals nine years in a row, the McGill administration fails to provide the needed funding for this sport.
Last year, when the McGill’s team won first place at the University Nationals, they continued training and went to the Canadian Open. Compared to their competitors, whose main focus is on synchronized swimming, the McGill Synchro team trained persistently while paying expenses out of their own pockets and maintaining the high GPA required by McGill. Although they didn’t win first place, they placed fourth against all odds while proving to the rest of Canada the potential that McGill synchronized swimmers had.