The Stillwater Synchro synchronized swimming team is sending 10 athletes to the 2013 eSynchro U.S. Age Group Synchronized Swimming Championships in Riverside, Calif.
The meet, held June 21-29, is the largest synchronized swimming meet in the world, and features competition in four age groups: 11-12, 13-15, 16-17 and 18-19.
Two St. Anne's School students are among the girls competing. Aly Meath, 14, and Adrianna Meath, 11, are headed west for the event.
The Meaths were attracted to the sport of synchronized swimming because their aunt is a coach and swam competitively for the University of Minnesota.
Adrianna said she and her sister grew up swimming a lot and that led to an interest in synchronized swimming.
"Some people say it's not a sport, but I want to prove them wrong," she said.
She said it takes a lot of hard work to improve one's skills, but when it all comes together it's worth the effort.
"I like that you can express yourself in the water," she said.
With the right coach and the right amount of effort, Adrianna said, success can be attained.
As the group heads to nationals, Adrianna said she doesn't have a goal in mind. Doing her best is her focus right now.
"It's going to be fun, but I'm really going to be nervous," she said.
The girls' mother, Nettie Meath, said she's really proud of her daughters. She noted that Aly is fighting illness and hopes to be better in time to compete.
"They work really hard," she said of her daughters. "This is a special opportunity for them to compete at this level."
The synchronized swimming athletes will compete in 11-12 age group duet, 13-15 age group solo, 16-17 age group team, 18-19 age group solo and duet. The team members who qualified for the national championships had to place among the top three finishers at the regional championships in South Dakota in May, which featured top athletes from Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa.
Synchronized swimming requires a unique combination of strength, agility, endurance, flexibility and speed. Stillwater Synchro practices one to three hours per day, two days per week at the Stillwater Junior High.
The synchronized swim season begins in early October and finishes at the end of June with nationals.