View Mobile Site


Synchronized swim team not giving in to older age

POSTED: November 13, 2011 1:30 a.m.

VDC Synchronettes

Watch as the Village at Deaton Creek Synchronettes perform a salute to veterans.

Photos by TOM REED/The Times

Synchronized swimmers, clockwise from left, Catherine Lane, Sally Austin, Jan Ember, Donna Finney and Delene Darst practice a routine at the Village at Deaton Creek swimming pool.

View Larger
View More »

Growing older is often met with dread and trepidation, but five women in the Village at Deaton Creek are proving that age is just a number, after all.

Sally Austin, 64, Delene Darst, 71, Jan Ember, 62, Donna Finney, 64, and Catherine Lane, 75, all belong to the adult community’s synchronized swim team.

They are among a growing number of older adults defying the belief that with increasing age comes a sedentary lifestyle.

Last month, 100-year-old Fauja Singh, a British citizen, finished the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in just over eight hours and 11 minutes. It was his eighth marathon. He ran his first 26.2 mile race at age 89.

Earlier this year, 62-year-old Diana Nyad made two attempts to swim the 103-mile passage from Cuba to Florida. Nyad swam for more than 34 hours on the second attempt before being forced to quit after sustaining multiple stings from Portuguese man o’ war.

The Deaton Creek ladies attribute these feats as proof that getting older doesn’t mean they have to surrender the activities they love.

"We’re the poster children for how you should be at this age," said Ember.

Austin hatched the idea to start a synchronized swim team in her Hoschton community last year. The VDC Synchronettes began training last September and held their first show, "A Salute to Our Veterans & Military," on Nov. 5.

Darst and Austin both performed on synchronized swim teams in their younger years.

Austin participated during her junior high and high school years in Michigan and then again in college.

Darst, a former competitive swimmer, said her club team — she swam for the Atlanta Athletic Club — did synchronized swimming in the offseason to stay in shape. She later participated in the sport while attending Springfield College in Massachusetts.

"It’s just fun to get back into it and see if you’re still capable of doing something you did when you were 20 (years old), 50 years later," she said.

Lane dabbled in the sport as a teen, while Ember and Finney began last year.

Finney admitted that she never thought she would be able to master the sport’s graceful, ballet-like moves.

"I had seen it in college and I thought it was so fabulous," she said. "I (thought) I could never do something like that, and then when Sally started it up, I thought, now is the time to do it."

Ember said her teammates’ support has made her even more determined to master some of the more difficult moves.

Also a challenge: Memorizing those moves while staying in sync with four other people.

The women began training for last weekend’s show in June, meeting on average once a week to practice. Austin and Darst orchestrated the choreography for most of the show’s routines while Lane choreographed a solo piece she performed to "Amazing Grace."

When mapping out routines, Austin said compensating for the pool’s depth and team’s small membership was a challenge.

"It’s trying to figure out what will work to the music and then we have limitations because the pool isn’t deep, so we can’t do some things or we have to modify them because of (the pool’s depth)," she said.

The team hopes that its recent show will inspire others to join. Ideally, Darst said they’d like to have between 12 and 15 women.

The camaraderie and health benefits have certainly made forming the group a worthwhile venture for its current members.

"I think it’s amazing," said Lane. "We are in our 60s and 70s. I am amazed that we can do this."



Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.




Powered by
Morris Technology
Please wait ...