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The Road to Rio

The Road to Rio The Road to Rio

Fundraisers come in all shapes and sizes supporting all sorts of worthy causes. Some fundraisers take the form of games of chance, others are sit-down dinners while others go a different route by putting on a show. That is what Synchronized Swimming for Athletes With Disabilities (Synchro AWD), a local non-profit did on August 28 at the Club@Los Gatos.

The purpose of the fundraiser was twofold. The first was to raise awareness of the group itself as well as a new adapted sport program for synchronized swimming offered in the South Bay, the first of its kind in the United States. The second reason was to raise money to help fund the trips of Synchro AWD Youth Ambassadors and their coaches on a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where they’ll perform in a Parasynchro Exhibition on September 4. “They’ll be representing the USA and will join other swimmers from around the world showcasing their talent and skill in the sport of Synchronized Swimming before the 2016 Paralympics opens on September 7,” said Tina Boales, President of Synchro AWD.

Synchro AWD was formed two years ago in San Jose to start a global movement to include Synchronized Swimming in a future Paralympic games, according to Boales. To date, 14 countries have joined the effort and Synchro AWD was asked to participate in the International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport (ICSEMIS) 2016 Conference, sponsored by the International Paralympic Committee during the break between the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games. The group departs for Brazil on August 30 and will return on September 11.”


While in Brazil, the swimmers and coaches will attend the Paralympic Opening Ceremonies on September 7 and also observe several competitions, including swimming. “This gives a rare chance for the local athletes with disabilities and coaches to see firsthand what it takes to become an elite athlete in a high level competition,” said Boales. While in Brazil, they’ll continue their global efforts to raise awareness about their campaign to have Synchronized Swimming included as a Paralympic sport.”

There was plenty of other entertainment at the fundraiser: a dunk-tank, raffle prizes, crafts for sale, silent auction, fishing pond, balloon artist, a juggler on stilts, food and treats. However, this fundraiser had something that most fundraisers lack: two water performances featuring Synchro AWD swimmers and their coaches, led by head coach, Katie Killebrew.

Killebrew is the head coach for Bay Area Synchro, the first club of its kind in the United States to offer adapted synchronized swimming training specifically for people with any disabilities, special needs and all abilities. This is an inclusive club/team for the disabled and non-disabled alike, which offers training for novice, intermediate and advanced swimmers in solo, duet and trio routines.

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