Ten Questions with Anna Beckwith

Mya Riley, VOX Reporter

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VOX Reporter Mya Riley finds out from Anna Beckwith, 17 year old MODG student from Florida, what it is like to be a synchronized swimmer.

  1. How long have you been doing synchronized swimming?

I started synchro the summer before I turned seven.  I swam up until the fall before I turned 15 and then I was forced to take about a two year break because of a horrible back injury.  I started up again this summer so usually when people ask I just tell them this is my ninth year (:

  1. What was the appeal of this sport? What drew you to it?

Synchronized swimming is such an incredible sport and I am not just saying that because it’s my sport!  Not only does it incorporate swimming, it also uses dance and gymnastics.  Some people refer to it as ballet in the water.  synchswim1-nic

I’ve always been pretty athletic, I think. I did ballet–jazz and tap–, basketball, soccer, tennis and speed swimming.  I love swimming, and I think I always have.  My mom always jokes around saying how I used to swim laps while I was in her belly.  Synchronized swimming just has something that always calls me back to it.  It’s a beautiful sport and I love watching it almost as much as I love doing it.

  1. How much do you practice? Does it interfere with your homeschooling?

Practices for my age group are Monday and Wednesday 5:30 to 7:30 and Saturday 9 to 12.  As we get more into the season (we’ve only been swimming for maybe a month and a half) the schedule will change to add thursdays and Saturday practices will go till 1.  I can’t remember a time where practices interfere with homeschooling, but I know sometimes away meets will cause me to need extensions on papers or maybe miss an LS class.

  1. Where do you swim?

I swim at a pool called Aquacrest in Delray Beach, Florida.  It’s about a mile away from my house which is super convenient.  I usually alternate between driving and riding my bike there.

  1. Are you part of a team? If so, do you have a specific position or role? What is it like being on a team?

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The team I’m a part of is called the Palm Beach Coralytes.  They’ve been around for either 32 or 33 years. T he head coach and the coach for my age group actually swam with the team when she was younger and so did her sister who is also a coach.  Before I had to quit, the main role I played was called base.  Basically, if we’re doing a lift (where we either throw someone off another swimmer’s shoulders or she flips or just plain stands) I was the person that they stood/flipped/jumped off of.  I was really the only person they used for this position because I’m quite tall and have generally pretty broad shoulders.  I love being on a team honestly.  I’m a pretty social girl and I love going to practice and not only seeing my friends but growing together in the sport we love so much .

  1. What is the difficulty level involved?

My age group is 18-19.  Even though I’m seventeen right now, I will be eighteen before the end of the season which means I’m required to swim up.  We haven’t been swimming this year for too long but its some pretty intense stuff.  Synchro is a full body workout and after practice I come home and sleep like a baby!

  1. Tell us about your favorite routine.

My favorite routine would probably either be my last team routine I swam the year before I had to quit or a trio I swam with my two friends.  The team routine I loved because the suits were beautiful, our music was fun, the routine itself was energetic and the lifts got amazingly high. T he trio I loved because we worked super hard on it and when we finally got to nationals, we had an amazing swim and missed going to finals by a tenth of a point.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget me and those other two girls huddled around waiting for our scores.synchswimcollage

  1. Have you ever been injured while swimming?

One time at practice we were doing a lift and the girl on top of me fell and landed on my head.  That resulted in a concussion and I actually lost consciousness for a few seconds while still underwater.  Thankfully there was no major damage from that.  The big injury that I have been mentioning is a result of me being the one and only base they used.  One day I came home from practice and I bent over to pick something up and I just could not get back up.  I remember this immense pain shooting through my back and I was just frozen.  Of course, I just played it off because I thought that it was just a pulled muscle or something and no way did I want to miss swimming.  (One time I got an award for “most likely to break a bone and keep swimming.”)  So I just kind of waited for a few days, took it easy, lots of ice and ibuprofen and just hoped for the best.  Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy and weeks later I was still in so much pain I wasn’t able to swim.  We went to a sports chiropractor who said that he had cases like this all the time and I would be back in the water in three months max.  Three months came and went and I was still in such much pain so we decided to move on. I got MRI and X-rays and more MRI’s.  At first the doctor diagnosed that I had a stress fracture.  Then after about a month of no physical activity, he called us back in to tell us he was mistaken and instead, I had two herniated disks in my lower back.  As a then fifteen year old who had been active all her life, this entire process was really hard for me and hearing that it wasn’t over was just as hard. So, after we came to our final diagnosis I started physical therapy and did that for about two and a half months.  Since then I have been working on strengthening my core (a key component to a strong back) and taking it one day at a time.  I will still have days where my back hurts and I usually just spend those days in bed with, again, ibuprofen and ice but thankfully those days are nothing compared to when I was first injured.

  1. What competitions have you been to? Have you won any awards?

I have been to a fair share of competitions but I think my most memorable ones are Nationals.  Nationals is where the top three routines for each category meet in one place to compete against each other.  So far I have traveled to California, Washington, Ohio, New York and Gainesville for these competitions.  There’s also an event called Zones which I’ve been to Texas and Washington D.C for. I think the last time I counted I had around sixty medals, twenty ribbons and three trophies.

  1. What is your favorite part of synchronized swimming? Least favorite? Would you recommend it to others?

My favorite part of synchronized swimming… hmmm.  I love honestly all of it, the choreographing, the swimming, the routines, the suits, the traveling, the make up, the friendships.  It’s a time in my life that I will carry with me forever and if I’m blessed enough to have daughters one day, the door to synchro will always be open to them.  synch-swimming-5-nic

My least favorite part and I think any synchronized swimmers’ least favorite part is probably either getting your head piece done or knoxing.  Getting your head piece done is super painful because you have to put what feels like 100 pointy bobby pins straight into your scalp to make sure your head piece doesn’t fall out.  Knoxing is what we do to our hair to make sure it all sticks back.  Its an edible gelatin that we pretty much paint back onto our heads and not only does it smell horrible but it is burning hot and runs down the front and back of your head.  One time I accidentally had half an eyebrow knoxed.  I would definitely suggest synchronized swimming, and I think if you’re interested in swimming, dance, gymnastics or all three, then you should look into it!

 

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