As a new season gets off to a great start for the Waterloo Regional Synchronized Swim Club, a Heidelberg resident is among the team’s bright lights.
Sarah Adams, a Grade 9 student at Elmira District Secondary School, recently finished fourth overall in the ‘under 13’ category, scoring the top spot for her duet routine with teammate Emily McKenzie at the Lisa Alexander Competitive Figures Meet, a provincial competition.
Adams’ success is welcomed by the other members of her squad as teams are marked based on both their performance together as a group, and the cumulative scores of their individual swimmers during their solo performances.
Overall, the club had 12 podium placings across seven events at the meet, giving the club a great start to another season.
This is only Adam’s third year swimming competitively, but already she and her older sister Grace, who also swims at the club, find themselves swimming more than 20 hours per week in order to train for upcoming competitions and meets, three in January alone.
And it is not only in the pool that the girls are seeing success. Synchro club president Erika Lindner, whose daughter swims on the same team as Adams, said instructors at her swimmers’ schools have commented that the girls on synchro teams seem to be able to maintain focus on their schoolwork exceptionally well.
“They only have so much time for homework and everything else in their lives, and when they train so many hours, they have to be on top of their other work. I find that they may have to give up some of the other extracurriculars in order to swim, but academically, they do very well overall.”
Adams’ mother Linda, who accompanies her daughter to practices every day of the week, said that since the age of three, Adams has been comfortable and confident in the water.
“This is just something that has always come easily to her. She is a very athletic young lady.”
In addition to their successes in the pool, the girls have also developed a strong friendship out of the water.
“Sarah has just thrived in this environment,” said her mother. “It takes athleticism and endurance, but the team aspect is also incredibly important. It’s a real sisterhood in this group.”
Brittany Orton, one of Adams’ coaches, notes that it takes more than just athletic ability to succeed in synchronized swimming, and that Adams has the winning combination of skill and determination that it takes to go far in the sport.
She “is very talented, she works hard and she is dedicated,” noted Orton. “She is always the first one to get going during practices and she helps to keep the team motivated too.”
And dedicated, she most certainly is.
“She swims 15 hours per week, and then joins the school swim team for fun,” said Adams’ mother with a laugh. “When they have a birthday party, they want to go to the swimplex with their friends. When we go to a hotel, the first thing they want to do is go for a swim in the pool.”
“Chlorine is our perfume,” says Adams of the team. “Even after we take showers, we still smell like the pool.”