The Royals synchronized swimming team forms an "H" in the pool during their traditional candle-lighting ceremony at the team's show on May 12.

Michael Korsh

Synchronized swimming heads to end of season with strength, unity

May 25, 2017

Team performs at annual showcase

For captain Maggie Cleary, senior, the Hopkins Synchronized swimming show is the best part of the synchronized swimming season.

“The show is a really cool opportunity for people to see what synchro is, and it’s the only time you get to see all of Hopkins’ routines at once,” said Maggie Cleary, senior, captain.

“The Show,” as it is called by the team, is an annual event that showcases the team’s routines to HHS students, parents, friends, and guests. This year’s show took place on

Friday, May 12 at the North Junior High pool.

The Royals have been preparing all year for the state tournament, where each team of four to eight people and solos, duets, and trios performed their routines. This year, each team has choreographed their own routines, with coaches assisting in technicality and style ideas. Earlier this season, each small team worked together to choreograph their routines.

The team’s practices have been spent working on the execution of each routine. Some of the routines consisted of kicks and arms while others had lifts and throws of the swimmers from the water.

“In practice, we did a lot of run-throughs of the show. We rotated a lot and watched each other perform. While the other groups were performing, we also worked on other parts of our routines like lifts and hybrids,” said Alyssa Peck, junior.

In addition to being a showcase event, “The Show” is also very significant to the team’s seniors. As one of their last major events with the synchro team, the girls use the show as an opportunity to honor each senior on the team.

“For the swimmers, the show is a very special night because we have to say goodbye to our seniors,” Cleary said.

To honor their three departing seniors, the team performed their annual “Candle Lighting” ceremony. In this ceremony, the team treads water while holding candles in the dark room. Each senior gets introduced and their college plans are announced to the audience.

Another tradition in the HHS swimming show is the “Boys Routine.” The synchro team invites boys, mostly from the swim team, to a practice to choreograph their own synchronized swimming routine that they perform during the show. This year’s boys participants were Nate Edstrom, Ethan Kehrberg, Corey Lau, seniors, and Phillip

The extended division team of Kristen Ho and Alyssa Peck, juniors, Lola Brown and Amelia Merfeld, sophomores, and Maggie Cleary and Sophie Dirnberger, seniors, perform their Britney Spears-inspired routine at the synchro show on May 12.

Dirnberger, sophomore.

Every girl on the synchro team got to swim in the Show. Some routines were performed by the team’s newest members while others were solos to showcase the team’s most experienced members.

“During the club synchronized swimming season, teams have as many as six to eight months to choreograph and perfect their routines. The HHS team, on the other hand, only has three months before they perform at state,” said Coach Alise Hofstead-Parkhill.

Overall, the team felt their performances at The Show went well and saw it as a great opportunity to perform in front of an audience.

“Everyone did really well in this year’s show, and it was great practice for sections this coming week. We are very excited to perform our routines on Saturday and hope to have some routines advance to state,” said Kristen Ho, junior.

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Following sections, team looks forward to state tournament

The Royals will participate in the Synchronized Swimming State Tournament at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center on Thursday-Friday, May 23-24. The top four routines from each division advanced to the state tournament.

The Royals have one routine from each division going, in addition to an extended trio, a short duet, a long trio, a short solo, and extended solo competiting.

Short routines are two and a half to three minutes long. Long routines are three to three and a half minutes long while extended is four minutes or more. The more experienced swimmers and the best members of the team are put on the longer routines.  

“Our team is very ready to compete, especially after we have practiced very hard and have worked hard to perfect our routines,” said Kristen Ho, junior.

On Thursday, the figures, solos, and duets will compete. On Friday, the trios and team routines will compete.

The Royals have been preparing for the state tournament this entire season. Practices have been spent perfecting these routines, which they have been choreographing or performing for nearly three months.  

“We are all very excited to see our competitors and be able to compete against them. We are excited for awards to see our hard work pay off throughout the season,” Ho said.  

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