Waterville, Maine was the home to this year’s annual USA Artistic Swimming Masters National Competition, as swimmers came to the New England town for 4 days from across the nation. Featuring swimmers in their early twenties to their nineties, competitors showed their skills in solo, duet, team, combos, and figures competitions. Teams were scored from 0-10 on execution, artistic impression, and technical difficulty. Although athletes compete within their age groups, scoring is standardized across the sport.
Longtime competitor Shirley Monce, now 91 years young, has been swimming for over 60 years and still loves it. “I’m swimming with the Dayton [Ohio] Synchronettes and I love every moment of it. It’s so good for women to be in synchronized swimming because it not only helps your body but it helps your lungs because you’re under water and I wouldn’t be singing today the way I do if I weren’t swimming. It’s just a marvelous thing.”
To compete, swimmers must be registered with USA artistic swimming and be a member of a local team. Adam Andrasko CEO of the US Artistic Swimming “I think for any sports fan what you see in the water is exciting but it’s the blend of artistry and the blend of athletics that makes artistic swimming unique. But the amount of progress we’ve made to solidify the organization over the last four years I get excited.”
Although the Masters Nationals is first and foremost a competition, many athletes also see it as a time to get together with people from all over the country whom they have met over their years of swimming. Since many swimmers have competed in this sport for decades, deep friendships develop over time. Anna Georgieva-Kondic of the Ramapo Aquamasters described the relationships as “Sure, we compete against each other, but overall we are friends.” This was evidenced by swimmers cheering loudly for competitors on other teams and helping others in the practice pool to work on elements of their performance. Courtney Griffith, a national champion at the age of 12 noticed that as well. “It’s so much more fun, on the national team it’s very much ‘We’re here to win’ and there’s so much pressure. Here there’s still pressure to win but you’re doing it for the love of the sport and the community behind it.”
1495 Sports is also proud to bring the following photo gallery from the event all taken by Scott Churchson who also represents StreamPunk Entertainment:
The event was also a boon to the Maine sports community. Long known for winter sports, the New England location had the opportunity to showcase one of the premiere competitive swimming pools in the United States, as the Colby College pool is now the only Olympic sized swimming pool in the state of Maine, and largest in their college conference.
The annual event alternates regions of the country each year with next year’s event taking place in late October in Oro Valley Arizona, about 6 miles north of Tuscan.
For more information on US National Artistic Swimming, you can check out their website here: