For most kids between the ages of eight and 18, summers are designed for catching up on sleep and watching television.
Not so for the Arizona Aqua Stars, a group of dedicated synchronized swimmers who wake up at 5 a.m. five times a week in preparation for the next season.
The hard work has paid off for the Aqua Stars, as they are coming off a year in which they qualified several routines at regionals to advance to Indianapolis for the U. S. Age Group National Championships.
The Aqua Stars are one of three local synchronized swimming teams, along with the Scottsdale Synchro and the Chandler Synchrocats.
The Synchrocats are a relatively young team, as they will begin their fourth go-round this season. Coach Elizabeth Frenzel, a former swimmer and coach with the Mesa-based Aqua Stars, started up the squad after noticing the lack of synchronized swimming organizations in the Chandler area.
"There wasn’t anything on that side of town," Frenzel said, "I started a summer team there and it drew interest, and they asked me to make it year round."
The Chandler squad has grown steadily since it began in 2001.
"The first year we had 25 kids and this year we will have 34," coach Mary Pursell said.
Like the Aqua Stars, the Chandler team advanced to the National Championships in Indianapolis, as well as competing in Seattle and New Orleans. Heidi Liou placed 28 th as a soloist in the 12-13 year-old division in
The Synchrocats will begin practicing Sept. 8, with their eyes set on the first competition, scheduled to take place in the first week of December.
The Scottsdale Synchro generally practice three times a week during the season, averaging about three hours per practice.
Last year, the Synchro qualified their 11 and over age group to the national competition in Indianapolis.
There are also Arizona teams in Tucson and the West Valley.
Hosting a welcome meeting and registration for the 2004-2005 season,
• When: 5 p.m. Sept. 8
• Where: Folley Pool in Chandler (Frye Road between Arizona Avenue and McQueen Road)
• Who: Open to girls ages 7 and older
• Other info: The competitive year runs from September through June.
• Contact info: Mary Pursell (480) 854-8075 or Elizabeth Frenzel at (480) 833-0201.