The Northland’s One and Only Synchronized Swim Club
Itasca Synchronized Swim Club Prepping for Sectionals
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“Synchronized swimming is a combination of gymnastics and ballet in the water to music,” explained Jamie Mjolsness, Head Coach of the Itasca Synchronized Swimming Club.
It’s a sport that tells a tale through flips, dives, lifts and holds.
“It’s kind of like telling a story to the music, kind of like drama,” Mjolsness said. “The girls are underwater, above water, underwater again.”
And here in the Northland, there’s only one team to tell it.
“That’s why we’re so passionate about the sport, because we’re the last one,” Mjolsness said.
The Itasca Synchronized Swimming Club was founded in 1969 at Greenway High School in Coleraine by Bernie Hendrickson, hoping to create equality in female sports.
“Remember, there were no girls sports at this time,” said Hendrickson. “Our idea was not to be the greatest sport to ever hit. It was to help girls develop.”
But the sport struggled, particularly in the Northland.
“When we first started, there were other teams up north – Bemidji, Hibbing, Ely – but they all sort of faded out, but we stuck with it,” Hendrickson explained.
Mjolsness spent many years dancing through the water herself.
“I love that it’s such an art form,” Mjolsness said.
She wasn’t going to allow this team to sink.
“I think, for any synchronized swimmer in the past, you create this passion for it that never goes away,” said Mjolsness.
The girls put in lot of work out of the pool.
“They would actually use their arms to recreate what their legs would do in the water,” explained Mjolsness.
But in the water is where routines come to life.
“They basically use a repulsion with their legs to keep their upper body out of the water,” Mjolsness added.
The team is full of dedicated coaches, and students eager to learn.
“The girls have to be really snappy, really on top of their game when they’re performing, so that they are together and they look really clean,” Mjolsness said.
The girls on the Itasca Synchronized Swimming Club have many reasons to hold their heads high.