Members of the Andover/North Andover YMCA’s Synchronized Swim Team (ANA Synchro) are came home with a gold medal following the 2018 U.S. Synchronized Swimming Junior Olympic Championships earlier this month.
Earning first place in the 16-17 age group duet category were Olivia Malloy, of Hamilton, and Sofia Puchniak, of Manchester. The unique choreography and creativity of their duet won for their routine entitled Squid Squad, coached and lead by Reem Abdalazem, who won the Coach of the Year title earlier during the season.
The 16-17 age group team took fourth place in the competition for their performance of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events coached by Abdalazem and Leah Pinette. Members of that team include Juliette Dubost, Olivia Freund, Caitlin Robinson and Lucy Topping of North Andover, Olivia Liera, Lakshita Motwani, Mia Hayes, and Maitri Naik of Andover and Sylvia Nicol of Acton.
The competition, which took place in Oxford, Ohio, featured athletes from around the country.
In all, 34 athletes performed 16 routines in the competition, which is the most in ANA Synchro’s history. Head Coach Leah Pinette says she is proud of all the athletes, who finished their season strong in a tough competition against some of the top teams in the country.
“Words cannot describe the emotions of bringing home the gold and a fourth place finish for the first time in our team’s history,” said Head Coach Leah Pinette. “Our team worked hard all year, set goals, and performed their best swims our last competition of the season, particularly for Olivia, Sofia and their lead coach, Reem Abdalazem.”
Synchronized swimming is a unique combination of dance, gymnastics and swimming that requires strength, agility, split-second timing, and stamina. Synchro athletes perform acrobatic routines in the water, perfectly timed with music and their teammates - all while never touching the bottom of the pool.