guest post: jess @ taste of confidence

February 25, 2011

Tonight’s guest post comes from Jess over at A Taste of Confidence. I’m off enjoying a rare date night with the Husband tonight — enjoy!

Hi, my name is Jess and I blog over at A Taste of Confidence, where I write about body image, fitness, and college life. I love Chelsey’s blog, and I’m honored to be able to guest post!

Today, I thought I would share a little about a sport, which is near, and dear to my heart, and which many of you may not know much about- synchronized swimming.

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When competing in synchro, you perform routines (solo, duet, trio, team) and also compete in figures (an individual skill competition, similar to figure skating).

And of all of these events are no joke.

Synchro is often made fun of and looks “easy.” But, the sport requires high levels of endurance, strength, flexibility, and perfect timing. Synchronized swimmers are just like ducks, in a way, they look peaceful above water, but below, they are paddling like crazy.

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I was on a competitive team, The Tonawanda Aquettes, for nine years, and the sport shaped me in lots of good and bad ways:

1) It made me a hard worker: I swam 5 or 6 days a week for at least 3 hours, often adding double practices (from 4-9). We even had a practice from 4-11 once a year! But during this time, my coaches instilled values of hard work. As my coach, Jo, said when we complained, “Everything good is hard.” These long hours turned into great rewards, like winning 3rd at Nationals.

2) It gave me life-long friends: those long hours turned into teamwork, laughter, and a bond I haven’t found anywhere else.

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at the beginning

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at the end

3) It made me let go of things outside of my control. Judges are going to screw you over sometimes. It will happen, but you have to go out there and do your best regardless of the politics surrounding the whole thing.

4) It allowed me to travel all over the country.

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at a Luau in Hawaii for U.S. Opens

5) But, it also greatly contributed to my body image issues. In synchro, the skinnier= the better, or at least it did in my mind. This isn’t necessarily what caused my problems, but I don’t think it really helped, either. Luckily, I have been able to move past these issues for the most part, and look back on swimming as a positive and amazing experience in my life.

What sports did you do growing up?

What has made you “you?”

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

britchickruns February 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Wow, I admire anyone who can do synchronised swimming!
I do riding and running, and they’ve both ‘made’ me – riding (horses) helped me no end through my eating disorder, and running has helped me mentally and phsyically and emotionally – I have 10 x more respect for my body now I’ve seen what it can do :)

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Sweet Tooth Runner February 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Wow synchronised swimming?! That’s so COOL!! I love watching that when it’s on the TV! Such a beautiful sport :) Shame that it gave you body image issues though! I did ballet for a while, and that did the same for me…

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katshealthcorner February 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I love watching synchronised swimming! It is so beautiful!
Thanks Jess! I learned so much! :)

xoxox,
Kathleen

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Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama February 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Interesting! Looks like a fun sport. I can’t imagine how much talent that must take.

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Lisa @ Thrive Style February 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I’ve always been so impressed by synchro!
Great post, Jess :)

I played a lot of different sports when I was in high school, but my favorites were gymnastics and volleyball. They definitely helped to develop my dedication and sense of responsibility. Have a great weekend!

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Victoria (District Chocoholic) February 25, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Yeah, those judges *will* screw you over :) . But they can’t take the life-long friendships away from you. I still see people I swam with 15+ years ago in WISCONSIN even though I live in DC.

The Open is back in Hawaii this year – my team is so excited! Hope you had fun when you went.

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Jess February 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Wow, what a hard sport!! I’m currently playing soccer, it’s awesome, intense. And I love it!

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Tina February 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm

What an awesome post! I am in awe of that perfect leg extension and pointed toe in the first picture!

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Carlee February 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I am a huge fan of basketball! But I cannot play anymore due to a bad back. Nor can I run really. Those were my passions. But since I still work out in ways that won’t bug my back they are just NOT my passions. I love to blog, cook, and hang out with my church friends.

SO awesome that swimming is such a huge part of you life! :)

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CH February 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I was a swimmer, gymnast, diver, and runner as a child! I was often told that swimming, diving, and gymnastics would make synchro when combined! We occasionally did sychncro exercises for fun as laps in swimming and they were always crazy hard, and we sometimes started practice right after the synchro team. It was fun to watch and I agree that it is definitely a hard sport!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm

My friend did syncho and she tried to show me some moves one time, and holy geez is it tough! That’s amazing that you did it for 9 years!

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Olivia February 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I loved reading your post jess!! I think synchronized swimming is so cool, but have never known in real life, a person who did it! I think it’s so cool that you still are friends with the gals too! that’s awesome:)

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yourdailygrace February 26, 2011 at 4:30 am

I am so uncoordinated I didn’t really do any sports growing up just a quick season each of soccer, I was ok but didn’t like getting beat up on by other girls, and tennis, I was bored. I really wish my parents would have encouraged me to be more involved in sports starting at a young age because it would be nice to have some endurance and strength built up for running and I don’t. and I still have body image problems…go figure!

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cleaneatingchelsey February 26, 2011 at 6:40 am

I’m uncoordinated too!!

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simplynutritiouskate February 26, 2011 at 7:54 am

wow I cant imagine being a synchronized swimmer, I can barely swim let alone do moves im impressed! I think sports are important to get involved in when you are young they teach you so much, but it is important for girls to learn what is a healthy body image and so many sports distort that.

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movesnmunchies February 26, 2011 at 7:59 am

WOW.. that first picture is ridonkulous!!!!! flexible lady.. but i can definitely see how that would cause body issues- I had that with dance!
I always played baseball and basketball (YES On boys teams! I was too hardcore for the prissy girlies) :D .. until I reached the age when I couldn’t play in the guys league anymore

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Jenny February 26, 2011 at 8:33 am

I grew up mainly playing soccer but dabbled in volleyball, swimming, and track. A certain event that changed my life was tearing my acl and having to be in a wheelchair for a month. I had to get the drive and determination to get every ounce of strength back. It gave me a lot of the drive I have today.

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Peggy February 26, 2011 at 9:49 am

I loved hearing this! Synchronized swimming doesn’t get enough credit! I grew up running cross country and playing softball.

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn February 26, 2011 at 10:35 am

I used to do synchronized swimming for a couple of years when I was a little punker! When I was a kid I swam competitively, as well as gymnastics, dance, track, and field hockey. Now I run and spin:)

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Alexa Besgen February 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm

What an awesome post! I did dance throughout my childhood into high school and loved it. But what really gave me confidence was doing crew senior year of high school. I have never felt so healthy happy and sure of myself and my abilities in my life!

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peacebeme February 26, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I think my love of sports and identifying as an athlete has made me who I am and given me so many memories. I ran competitively and also played soccer my whole life.

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thefitacademic February 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I did tennis all growing up. I still love it, but it’s always been mostly for fun. Even though I’ve competed, etc., I’ve never been good enough to think about things like “nationals” – it’s always been more of a hobby.

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