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Sync and swim for finals

Event: Teams from all over the West compete at Santa Clarita Aquatic Center

Posted: March 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Joanna Langer, 13, left, and Remy Mink, 13, of Walnut Creek, perform in duet category competition at the 2011 U.S. Synchronized Swimming West Zone Finals held at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center in Santa Clarita on Saturday.

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Minutes before they dove into the pool, sisters Grace and Maddi Loewen huddled with their coach Karen Rosolowski for a last second pep talk.

“You guys ready?” Rosolowski asked the pair, her head inches away from her swimmers.

“Yes,” the sisters said in unison.

“Walk out tall,” Rosolowski said. “Walk out like a million bucks. This is our pool!”

Seconds later, the sound of drums and horns blared out speakers. The Loewen sisters jump in the water: their most important performance so far this year has begun.

Approximately 250 athletes competed in the U.S. Synchronized Swimming West Zone Finals this weekend at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center. Swimmers from Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada and across California showed off their best moves in hopes of earning a high enough score from judges to compete in a national event later this year.

The swimmers’ routines are judged in several areas that measure the technical difficulty and artistic value of the intricate moves that are performed, said Rosolowski the head coach of Los Angeles Synchro.

“Do they have two legs in the air or one? Do they have two arms in the air or one?” Rosolowski said. “The swimmers (competing) here are the best in the region and, in most cases, the country. We’re a little cocky in the West.”

The Loewen sisters’ routine was like a graceful dance in water 13 feet deep.

As the music crescendoed, the sisters twirled in the water with their arms fully extended above their heads. When the melody changed, the pair ducked their heads underwater, flipped upside down and shot their legs into the air in unison.
Dozens of parents sat on bleachers next to the pool cheered during the routines. Twelve judges sitting on elevated platforms under white tents jotted down scores as the routine continued. A man sitting inches from the edge of the pool videotaped the routines for a live webcast.

When the music stopped, the two got out of the pool and waited for the judges score.

“My legs are burning but that’s good though,” Grace Loewen, 16, said. “I was trying really hard.”

Maddi Loewen said she felt woozy after the routine. She was rushed a bottle of water to drink.

“Synchronized swimming is a full-body sport,” Rosolowski said.

Minutes pass until finally the final score is announced: 68.5

“They had a few synchronization issues but not too bad,” Rosolowski said. “That’s a really good score for them.”

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