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Synchronized swim program returns to Yacht Club

By Staff | Oct 27, 2015

Synchronized swimming has returned to Cape Coral with a public show set for December.

Gulf Coast Synchro will host a Christmas performance Wednes-day, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m., at the Cape Coral Yacht Club pool. Estimated to be about 30 minutes, it will feature a team routine, as well as solos and duets.

“The girls are not competitive, so this is just like a recital,” Darla Griffiths, a coordinator with Gulf Coast Synchro, said. “We wanted to give them an opportunity to showcase what they learned.”

The non-profit organization oversees the recreational program and classes at the facility.

“It’s going to definitely be a Christmas theme with Christmas carols,” she said.

For more than 30 years, the Yacht Club offered a synchronized swimming program for local youth, which wrapped up with an annual show for the public. Four years ago, the program dissipated.

“The contract for the former group expired, and they didn’t renew it,” Griffiths said.

She explained that her daughter joined the original program in its final year.

“She fell in love with it and wanted to continue,” Griffiths said.

With some searching, the family located another group in town – a competitive, synchronized swimming team. Her daughter spent the next two years with the group before it also folded.

Gulf Coast Synchro was created soon after.

“We wanted to get back to the fun,” Griffiths said, noting that a recreational program allows for more youth to fully participate than a competitive one. “A recreational program is so good for the girls.”

In 2014, the organization kicked off its program in the Cape.

“The first summer was slow,” she said. “We only had about six girls.”

For the second year, the program doubled in size.

“We’ve grown it up to 12 girls. We still have girls that signed up with us from the first summer,” Griffiths said. “We’re hoping to grow it even more for next summer.”

Gulf Coast Synchro also acquired a 30-year, synchronized swimming veteran to coach the children.

“We try to make it fun,” she said. “We introduce them to new skills.”

Open to boys and girls ages 8 and up, the program runs from March through November. There is a beginning and an advanced group, and each meets twice a week at the Cape facility for an hour.

The program requires basic swimming skills – it does not teach participants how to swim.

“A lot of synchronized swimming is treading water,” Griffiths said.

During class, the children are taught hand and water movements, how to get in synch with the music and themselves, and more. They build endurance, gain self-esteem and learn what teamwork is.

“To be a synchronized swimming group, you have to work together,” she said.

There is also the social aspect.

“You get to meet new people, new personalities,” Griffiths said.

Her daughter loves the makeup and theatrics.

“It is very similar to dance,” she said.

To participate in the program, a monthly fee of $75 is required by the Yacht Club. Griffiths noted that there is a reduced fee for multiple children, as well as if participants pay for two months at a time.

Gulf Coast Synchro hopes to one day offer scholarships to youth who cannot afford the fee.

The organization is also working on creating an adult program at the facility.

“We’re trying to get a masters program going,” she said, adding that there are a handful of adults already interested. “As soon as we get 10 adults, then we’ll put the program together.”

It would be open to ages 18 and over; again, basic swimming skills required.

For more information on the synchronized swimming recreational program, visit: www.gulfcoastsynchro.org or “Gulf Coast Synchro” on Facebook.

People can also contact Griffiths at (239) 671-9190.

The Yacht Club is at 5819 Driftwood Parkway.