Katie Koenning, Stillwater junior
How did you start synchronized swimming? When I was younger, I passed all the swimming lessons levels and I didn’t know what to do. I was going to take the level six again just because I didn’t know what to do with myself and then there was a summer club that the community [education] offered and I decided to take that. And I just kind of stuck with it.
Why do you like synchronized swimming? It’s a lot of fun. I just love being in the water and you get to swim with your friends every day and it’s not as high stakes as lap- swimming. Competitive swimming gets kind of stressful. And boring.
Your season starts Monday. What are you expecting? We graduated four seniors … from the top team so we have to fill in those four spots there. And then I know there’s a huge crop of new seventh-graders and younger girls that are coming in that have done the club. So they’ll already know what they’re doing and that’ll really help us. We’re very excited. It’ll be a fun season.
How difficult is the sport? It’s like dance but you have to hold your breath the whole time … It’s just the absolute hardest you’ve ever worked in your life for three-and-a-half minutes. It’s bursts of energy at a time. You don’t spend the whole practice swimming back and forth at 80 percent. You spend like … nine minutes of practice giving your absolute 100 percent.
Future in synchronized swimming? It would be fun to help out coaching, you know, come back to the high school team and help write routines or help with the club team, too. There are 12 people that make the Olympic team and four of them are alternates that don’t even swim. So there’s not a huge market for synchronized swimmers. … I know some swim with the Cirque du Soleil. They have a show that uses synchronized swimmers. But between those two, there’s really nothing else.
Megan Ryan is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.