Going it alone works just fine for Sydney Schmisseur.
The Desert Vista senior competed as a solo synchronized swimmer and came away with the individual title at the eSynchro Age Group Championships on June 26-July 5 in Federal Way, Wash.
“It’s unbelievable. This was my first time competing solo, so I was really amazed,” Schmisseur said.
Schmisseur won the solo free with 140.7622 points, beating girls from Cincinnati and Indianapolis on the way.
She also helped Scottsdale Synchro, a synchronized swimming team, capture the team title for the 18- to 19-year-olds.
Scottsdale earned 139.5497 points, beating the Cincinnati Synchrogators and Indy Synchro.
“As a team, we’d been close before,” Schmisseur added. “Last year, we missed out on the title by .02 points, so to be able to win it this year was really great.”
Schmisseur started synchronized swimming in the fourth grade, and fell in love with it from Day One.
“One day, a few of our friends brought us to a clinic and we signed up for the next season that day and never looked back,” she said.
The senior said although she was very happy with her solo finish, she much rather prefers competing in the team event, which also includes her sister, Eryn.
“I just think it’s easier when you get to swim with your friends. Plus, I really like doing lifts and you can’t do those without the team,” said Schmisseur.
But the lifts just don’t happen, she said. The team practices five days per week for at least three hours each day.
“We do all kinds of training. At the beginning of the season, we do a lot of cross-training like running, but as the season goes on, we mainly have water workouts,” she said.
Schmisseur said there are a lot of things to think about when they practice and then compete because there are three judges that look at different aspects of the performance.
“There’s the technical judge, and he makes sure that everyone is synchronized, but there’s also an artistic judge who looks at how you swim with the music, and there’s the difficulty judge,” she said. “The more stuff you do under the water and the longer you’re under get you more points from him,” she said.
Schmisseur said there is really only one aspect she doesn’t like about the sport.
“We have to put nonflavored Jell-O in our hair to hold it back and keep it from coming down,” she said. “It’s a pain to get out because you have to take really long showers with lots of hot water.”
Schmisseur’s teammate, Jorydnn Dixon, a junior at Red Mountain, said it really comes down to two words: work and want.
“You really have to want it and if you work hard enough, it will happen. We’ve been wanting this for so long now and our work finally paid off,” Dixon said.
Dixon said although some of the girls had swam together before, this was the first time they had all been on the same team.
“It was like a big family. We’re all dedicated to the sport and we get to bond a lot, especially when we carpool to and from practice all the time. I feel like they’re my sisters,” she said.
She said that winning the national title is something most teams only dream of and to actually win it was surreal.
“We put so much time in to this, it means so much to say we’re national champions. Dreams come true,” Dixon said.
• Will Argeros is a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He is interning this semester for the AFN.