- Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 17:52
- Published on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 00:51
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Throughout most of her life, University of Mary Washington (UMW) sophomore Alexandra Bentz has had a connection with aquatic sports. While her past athletic endeavors have helped shape her competitive focus, she has found her niche as a member of the University of Mary Washington synchronized swim team.
Inspired by the legendary Hollywood MGM actress and Olympic swimmer Esther Williams, Bentz has always dreamed of mastering the art of synchronized swimming.
On Saturday, the team competed in their second meet of the season at William & Mary. Bentz placed fifth in the solo event format, while her team finished fifth in the routine competition, and fourth in the figure competition.
As a competitive figure athlete, Bentz was judged in both silent and music portions of the event.
Known by most as a combination of dance and gymnastics, the sport consists of swimmers, ranging from solos to teams, performing elaborate synchronized routines in the water. The sport requires precise timing, while executing artistry on top and upside down in water. Also, swimmers must be able to master the ability to hold their breath under water for long periods of time, as they perform a variety of dance routines.
The Lady Eagles are the oldest club sport at UMW. They are also a part of the USA Synchro Swimming Collegiate Association. Along with Bentz, the team is comprised of three other members. The sport is open to all athletes who come from novice to experienced swim backgrounds.
While the sport is currently a club sport, head coach Jessica Waldman continues to exhaust efforts to make synchronized swimming a varsity sport in the not-too-distant future. “The sport is a lot of fun in the aspect of being a team sport, and the camaraderie is a great experience for everyone,” Waldman said.
Since the age of 15, Bentz and her twin sister Christiana have dedicated their summers to coaching competitive swimmers in summer swim leagues, year-round leagues, and as coach for the masters swimming program at the King George YMCA. In addition, she is also a lifeguard at the King George YMCA. During their high years at King George High School, the Bentz sisters were instrumental in helping the Foxes girls’ swim team win three consecutive Battlefield District Championships.
Bentz is currently majoring in education, and hopes to get her certification in teaching, and someday return to King George as an elementary school teacher.
The UMW Eagles will travel to George Mason University on Feb. 2, for their next synchronized swim competition.