Santa Clara’s Aquamaids program is well regarded in swimming circles. Since its founding in 1964, the organization has worked to produce some of the most competitive synchronized swimmers in the country. So it comes as no surprise that many of them are excelling at the collegiate level.
“It’s very exciting, for a lot of us I think we’ve never really gone to compete for a gold team before, it’s always been a club team. So it’s definitely super exciting to be able to go [to Nationals] and really represent your school,” said Sabrina Walsh, who just finished up her freshman season with the Stanford Synchronized Swimming team.
Walsh says the transition from swimming at a club level was tough at first because practices were early in the morning, but she made it through with the help of some former teammates.
“It’s exciting actually to see some of my old teammates back here at Stanford,” said Walsh. “It’s nice to have older girls kind of welcome us and guide us around. It’s also super exciting to see my teammates on different school’s teams at nationals…It’s like a little reunion for us; for our parents.”
Walsh and her fellow Cardinals won the silver medal in this year’s team event at the United States National Collegiate Championships. The team is peppered with former Aquamaids.
Amanda Urke was also on the team squad with Walsh. Former Aquamaids Jacklyn Luu and Alexandra Suarez won silver in the Duet team competition and Luu also won silver in the Solo competition.
They lost to some familiar faces.
Aquamaids alum Nikki Dzurko, who currently wrapping up her freshman year at Ohio State, won first place in both the Solo and Duet competitions. Dzurko was also part of the Ohio State team that beat Stanford to claim gold in the team event. Dzurko finished up Nationals by winning the individual High Point Trophy — awarded to the person who scores the most points out of everyone in the competition.
Also swimming for Ohio State, former Aquamaids Camryn Carrasco, Alex Meredith, and Stephanie Thielemann. In addition to a team gold, Thielemann won gold in the Trio competition. Another Ohio State team won bronze in the Team event. That team included former Aquamaids Phoebe Coffin and Ava Lichter.
Walsh says Stanford will receive a new infusion of Aquamaids in the fall.
“We will have two Aquamaids joining Stanford’s team next year, which is very exciting. They’re my old teammates so I can’t wait,” said Walsh. “I love it. It’s been really great. The people here are super welcoming, the coaches are really supportive, and so is the team…I’m really happy; excited for the next three years.”