Synchronised swimmers have to start somewhere – Jamaican programme ramps up recruitment efforts

By Melissa Talbert August 03, 2020

Synchronised swimming in Jamaica is missing one critical element.

The sport needs more participants if it is to grow and have success like the sporting exploits of other areas like football, cricket and track and field.

Synchro swimmers put considerable effort into their themes and choreography with beginner classes for synchronised swimmers serving as a stepping stone to elaborate routines and impactful projects.

Recently I witnessed where local synchronised swimmers can end up, here’s where they can get started.

The Jamaica Synchronised Swimming team is calling boys and girls ages 5 to 10 to attend synchronised swimming lessons. Lessons are available in Montego Bay, Portland and Kingston and cost $300 per hour plus any pool entrance fees that the venue will charge. In Kingston, they are held at the National Stadium pool on Thursdays- Fridays at 2pm-5pm and on Saturdays at 9am-12pm.

Former Cuban national coach, Yoaris Milian, will coach in Kingston and Montego Bay and multi Olympic gold medallist Russian swimmer, Olga Novokchshenova, in Portland.

The talented coaches will facilitate “land exercises to strengthen the core muscles and build stamina (cardio) as well as pool exercises, taking them through learning the figures that will be used later to create routines,” so says Maureen Smith, vice-president of Artistic Swimming at Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ).

Though synchronised swimming is an exclusively female Olympic sport, there are other international bodies that welcome boys. Inclusivity is valued by the Jamaica Synchro team and so they are ready to prepare local boys that already have a passion for dancing and the water.

“Boys are a new addition as the international body has changed synchronised swimming to Artistic swimming to attract boys. Competitions now include duets with boys and girls...even boy solos now,” said Smith.

“Preferred age range is 5-10 because it's easier for them to learn, their muscles are more flexible and this is also for longevity in the sport. We can go outside of the age range if persons already have skills like swimming, dancing, gymnastics or they learn quickly and are not afraid of the water,” Smith said.

Children are placed in time slots as a protocol for COVID-19. Parents and guardians are encouraged to contact the team first. Still, the protocols observed will not take away from having fun, learning new skills, making friends, getting strong, travelling the world and participating in amazing projects.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

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