USA Synchro Squad Attends Homecoming Events


Madeleine Singh, Opinion Editor

Spending everyday training in Campolindo’s Soda Aquatics center, the 11 athletes of the USA National Synchronized Swimming team have been deprived of a typical high school experience as the result of a rigorous practice schedule.

While none of them are enrolled as students at Campolindo, the athletes, who range in age from 15 to 17, participated in the homecoming rally, football game, and dance on October 20-21.

“Because we train every day from 7 to 3, we have to do online school or independent study, so we don’t get to do all the fun school events that everyone else gets to do like prom, homecoming, all that stuff, so we really wanted to join in somewhere that was close to home,” said team captain Emmanuella Tchakmakjian, who moved to Lamorinda in her freshman year.

Nicole Goot is another of the team’s athletes who has given up the traditional high school experience to pursue synchronized swimming. “Honestly, if I had the option, I definitely would go to normal school because teaching yourself, especially after a 10-hour practice, is not ideal, so it’s really difficult to balance,” she said. “Not having an outside social circle or people to help you out is… you just never really think about that.”

The team was granted permission to attend the various homecoming festivities by Associate Principal Jon Drury.

“My favorite part was the pep rally– the whole ‘show’ was really well put together and funny, and inclusive,” said swimmer Abby Remmers. “Everybody was so welcoming and nice, which was the best feeling ever. I really appreciate all that Campo did to make our weekend one to remember.”

Others, like Goot, were just grateful to branch out and be among others her age.  “[I’m looking forward to] meeting other people because we’re always secluded in our own little circle, and it’s just nice to talk to other high schoolers, get to know people,” she said.

The team is currently training to represent the USA at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. “We’re not really funded, so everyone goes to college for collegiate synchro [instead of competing on the National team],” explained Tchakmakjian, “But we’re motivated and committed.”

“It’s definitely worth it when you travel the world and get to compete on the worldwide level,” added Goot.