With recognition from the City of Santa Clara and USA Synchro for half a century of outstanding performance and excellence, the Santa Clara Aquamaids celebrated its current and former swimmers with a ceremony commemorating the synchronized swimming club’s achievements at the Louis B. Mayer theatre on the campus of Santa Clara University on Aug. 30.
“Tonight’s event commemorates and celebrates a great legacy established and perpetuated by many wonderful people,” said Aquamaids head coach Chris Carver. “This special Aquamaid birthday gives us the opportunity to look back on 50 years of great things accomplished through love, commitment and hard work … The City of Santa Clara and the Santa Clara Aquamaids have worked together for the benefit of youth for five decades. Without the countless volunteer effort on behalf of Aquamaid functions and fundraising, our club would not exist. The powerful balance of teamwork from dedicated athletes, talented coaches, hard-working parents, friends and our city ensures an ongoing legacy as the Aquamaids begin their next half century.”
With the theme of Kay’s Comet (Kay Vilen was the first Aquamaids coach) the event acknowledged former Aquamaids who have brought honors to the club including: the 1968 National Championship team of Kim Welshons, Nancy Hines, Carol Reynolds Mellows and Pam Albin Edwards (half of which were present); 1972 World Aquatic Champions team of Robin Curren McKinley, Sue Baross Nesbitt, Amanda Norish Lundie, Gail Johnson Pucci, Terry Andersen Wattles; first US Parasynchro swimming champion Raquel Boales; first Olympic coach Charlotte Davis; 1996 Olympians Becky Dyroen Lancer, Jill Sudduth Smith, Suzannah Dyroen Bianco and Heather Simmons Carrasco (all in attendance); trainer and physical therapist Dr. Donald Chu; and 2000 Olympians Bridgen Finn Maier, Carrie Barton Garten, Kristina Lum Underwood, Tuesday Middaugh Slomovitz, Anna Kozlova, Elicia Marshall Valle and Kim Wurzel LoPorto.
After an intermission with performance from Santa Clara’s other standout club, the Santa Clara Vanguard, the accolades continued with recognition of the 2004 Olympic team of Lauren McFall, Kozlova, Alison Bartosik, Tammy Crow diClercq, Becky Jasontek Tomsik, Kendra Zanotto Copp and Sara Lowe. A documentary by Cheryl Furjanic, “A Valuable Cultural Form of our Time,” was shown before former Aquamaids Bill May and Alicia Rice, both recent swimmers in Las Vegas shows, performed.
Ed Kaminski was recognized for his lifetime of service to the club, and May and Underwood for their pair work. The event ended with a showcase of Aquamaids swimsuits.
“The 1968 team set the bar for the future to follow, and it was evident that Kay’s vision has extended to the present day,” said Carver. “It was an evening of renewing old connections and reliving exciting moments. Each honoree was preceded by a video presentation that featured original swims and interviews with people who lived through the formative days. One of the most interesting films was of George Haines. This film was made years ago, and I believe we got our hands on one of the only copies extant. We had it transferred to digital and will present it to the swim club. It is narrated by Bing Crosby, who used to be very active with Santa Clara University and with the community. It shows George training swimmers in Stevens Creek Dam before Santa Clara built him a pool. Such glorious golden days. It was a very wonderful night”
On Aug. 31 the Aquamaids further celebrated with a barbecue at the Santa Clara Elks Lodge, while members of the 13/15 team left for Greece to compete in the Comen Cup, which runs Sept. 4-9. Visit www.aquamaids.org for more information.