Synch or swim

It’s like ballet, cheerleading and gymnastics. But all at the same time. And underwater.


Courtesy of Shanaya de la Cruz

The Seattle Synchronized Swin Team prepares to execute a lift. De la Cruz’s team practices five times a week in various locations throughout the Seattle area.

Hailey Robinson, Online Editor

Thinking of sports usually brings to mind something like football, basketball or soccer.  Junior Shanaya de la Cruz, however, does a sport that’s slightly more unconventional. Her sport of choice, synchronized swimming, isn’t something many people would even think of. While it’s an Olympic sport, it’s not something that would ever be covered on ESPN.

“People say that it isn’t a sport, but it definitely is. It’s cheerleading, gymnastics, and ballet. You also have to have a lot of technical skill, flexibility and strength,” de la Cruz said.

De la Cruz has been on the Seattle Synchronized Swim Team since she was six years old. After her mother read an ad in the paper, she decided to try it out.

“It’s definitely something you have to try to get a feel for,” de la Cruz said. “There are people who don’t love it right away; you have to learn to love it rather than loving it from the start.”

The best thing about synchronized swimming, de la Cruz said, is spending time with her teammates.

“They’re definitely like my sisters. I’ve been with them for almost 11 years now. It’s definitely been a journey,” de la Cruz said. “They’ve been with me through thick and thin, no matter what. They’ve always been there by my side to cheer me up.”

De la Cruz says that synchronized swimming is much harder than most people think. She and her teammates have to do complex tricks underwater, all without touching the bottom of the pool. Most of this is done while holding her breath, sometimes for over a minute at a time.

“Synchronized swimming competitions are long and can last up to over a week. Everyone is ramped up and the team really feeds off of the others’ energy,” de la Cruz said. “Like every sports competition, they’re typically stressful, but the team is there to make you feel better”

De la Cruz plans on pursuing synchronized swimming in college. She loves the sport, as well as teaching it and hopes it will provide her opportunities in the future.