Figure Invitational 2018

It was definitely helpful to know what to expect going into the first figure meet of the year. Indoor pool, nice and crowded, hopefully lot’s of fun! Last year, all our athletes entered the Age Group category. This time, we had wider depth, entering at least one or two athletes per age across Novice, Intermediate, and Age Group.

We got there a little before the pool was even open. It was cold outside! We immediately started movement to stay warm. Some of the athletes seemed pretty nervous. We did one of our usual mental exercises to break the ice. Today was thinking about one quality or feeling you could bring to the group. It’s always sweet hearing them say things like “Joy! Compassion! Strength! Determination!”.

Doing our stretching on the deck in the pool area with a ton of people around doing their own thing is a lot different then being back in an exercise room at Arden Hills!

Some of our Novice athletes waiting to perform:


This is one of those moments as a coach that you trust that the training did it’s job. You can’t learn anything new at a meet. I also tend to count on the time the athletes have waiting in line to bring themselves into their center.

Sac Synchro was  fortunate to have judge representation on each panel, allowing some of the coaches the opportunity to sit and observe. It was fun seeing each girl get out there and perform! It was sweet seeing the Age Group athletes help their younger “sisters” figure out where to go and what to do. All the athletes performed great!


Results wise, Sac Synchro came in first or in the top 3 in 6 out of 8 categories we entered. I was honestly just thrilled we got to represent in so many categories and I hadn’t known what to expect. It was wonderful to see our 16-17 Junior go from getting dead last in 2017 to a gold medal this year. Talk about consistent practice resulting in consistent growth over time! Good job Ellie and to each and every Sac Synchro athlete.

IMG_4654_(1)Thank you San Francisco Merionettes for your hospitality. See you in 2019!

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Sacramento Synchro Qualifies 5 Routines to Junior Olympics


On May 6, Five routines from the Sacramento Synchronized Swim Team qualified to advance from their Regional Competition to Junior Olympics in Riverside, CA, in July 2017. There are 16 Regions total within the United States that all contribute 3 Duets/Teams/Combos and 2 Solos in each Age Group to the Junior Olympics competition. Participation from the Santa Clara Aquamaids and Walnut Creek Aquanuts (the most “historically successful” clubs in the US) makes “Region B” the most competitive region in the country. Athletes from Sac Synchro that qualify tend to end up making Finals (top 8 in the Nation). Routines are:

11-12 Duet: Mia Rebensdorf/Juna Park “Felix the Space Cat”


13-15 Duet: Aubrie Rutan/MJ Schoel


13-15 Solo: MJ Schoel “Coraline”


16-17 Solo: Elliette Azarcon “Pumpkin Pursuit”


18-19 Solo: Sophia Susac “Querer”



For more information, email or visit Sacramento Synchro is a registered club of USA Synchro.

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National Team Trials Phases I/II

After our first figure meet came National Team Trials in Santa Clara, California. Between having 5 athletes across two different phases and two different Age Groups, this was quite a four-day marathon. Luckily, I got to room with former National Team Teammate Leah Pinette, Head Coach of ANA Synchro.

Gianna (12&Under) and Aubrie (13-15) competed in Phase I for their Age Groups. Grades testing was very competitive and although the athletes performed well, both were exactly 5 points shy of minimum required to move forward and finished their Trials journey here. This is a good experience for these athletes to learn that the way they train every minute of practice counts. Synchronized Swimming is a very difficult sport and if one can master being mindful of small details throughout training, they will be able to apply the same knowledge to any aspect of their lives.


Dyeon and MJ competed in Phase II in the 13-15 category. This is Dyeon’s first year in 13-15, and she is actually only 12! She did not qualify into the top 30, but congratulations to her for completing the Trials training process and getting the experience. MJ just made it into the top 30 and after adding routine and skills stayed put. Congratulations to MJ Schoel for making it to Phase III of National Team Trials! It was one of the most competitive fields ever.


Here we have MJ getting her legs marked so the judges can see her height upside down. She is wearing a blue flower in her hair in memory of Anastasiya, a Sac Synchro swimmer that passed away three years ago.


Juna Park competed in Phase II in the 12&Under category. She had strong performances in figures, skills, and routine to end up a solid 6th place overall. Congratulations Juna! Quite an improvement from 33rd last year! Not only does this qualify her for Phase III, but her placement suggests that if she keeps working hard, she may have a chance to qualify for the team and/or swim the team program at the UANA competition.



All in all, it was a great experience. Thanks so much to the Sac Synchro Coaches who make it all happen.


Learn about our Sac Synchro Coaches.



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First Figure Meet

Sacramento Synchro competed in their first figure meet at the beginning of January with some incredible results. I have to admit I was a bit anxious. Of course I trust the training plan we’ve implemented, but there is nothing like seeing good results on paper compared to the other teams to confirm we are on the right track.

Notable achievements include Erin Maeng winning the 10&Under Age Group (from a 37.223 at this meet last year to a 49.333). It was the sweetest phone call I ever had to tell her about her first place result. I’ll never forget the way she said “Really????” when I told her she won. She said “That’s never happened to me before!!” I explained to her that it didn’t happen to her, she created it herself!


Juna Park won the 11-12 Age Group category with a 59.0756, up from a 53.9955 last year. It is quite unusual for an athlete not from Santa Clara or Walnut Creek to top the scoreboard. Other noteworthy improvements were Gianna Bonacorsco (46.4356 → 53.9956) and Tara Batt (39.5021 in intermediate figures to a 51.4814). Congratulations to Mana, Tennille, and Ellie for competing in their first meet with Sac Synchro.

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Well, I am past due on sharing the news that I have been hired as the Head Coach of Sacramento Synchronized Swim Team!

Here’s you know, us:


I could not be more excited to be here. This opportunity presented itself at the perfect time. After floating around Los Angeles for a few months post-Rio, I was ready for my next project to focus on. I am grateful to Sonia Susac and Robin Mizell for having the vision to bring me in, and to Myriam Glez for making me aware of the opening and providing a strong reference for the position.

Sacramento Synchro started in 1985 and just celebrated their 30 year anniversary. There is quite a rich legacy. I feel honored to be a part of it. Furthermore, we have just transitioned facilities from a local high school to Arden Hills Country Club. Arden Hills was founded as a tennis and swimming club in 1954 by Sherm Chavoor, who trained Mark Spitz leading up to his 7-gold-medal run in the 1972 Olympics! I feel inspired just being there. It is filled with photos of Olympians who have trained there (33 medals total – 22 of them gold!) and the member’s lounge is covered with newspaper articles from Arden Hills athletics over the years.

It has been a huge transition to a new role . But, I can see how everything I have done in my Synchro career up until now has prepared me exactly for this role. It feels like coming home.

Thank you Sacramento Synchro and thank you Arden Hills!

Visit Sacramento Synchro’s new website at And Arden Hills (the swimming page is under maintenance but we will get up there soon!)

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Day 1 Training in Toronto

Our first full day in Toronto was action packed! We got off to an early morning start, in a nice quiet dining room. Generally, the South American countries prefer a later start, so I don’t expect to see them in the 6 o’clock hour.

Our first training session was in the competition pool. We got to do a lot of tech duet and tech team. During duet practice with music, the power went out! At first, we waited, thinking it would only take a minute or two. Then we started practicing with counts. It ended up being 20 minutes until we could begin again.

I found myself feeling a little bit scattered and had to shake it off and focus. It was a good opportunity to experience a blip in the plan. What if I had to wait 20 minutes on competition day? Now I have this experience to refer to and know exactly how to handle it!

During team, we only had a few minutes left to finish our swimthrough with music. Usually, we stand in a circle and review things and do a cheer before performing. Our coaches told us to go before we were finished. We talked about it after, and discussed how if we are low on time we need to just set up and start.

In the afternoon, we had another chance. Our coach told us we had 15 seconds until the music started. All 9 of immediately put our hands in the center for a quick team cheer, turned, and hit our pose. We did a much better job accommodating the schedule change.

I guess the theme of the day was time. Being flexible to handle both delay and rush.

After dinner, team physio Thomas helped several of us stay limber. Here is a picture of him helping me stretch out my hips:


Bring it on Day 2!!

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Happy July 4 from the Pan American Games!!!

After catching a red-eye flight, we arrived to Toronto!! Can’t think of a better way to spend the 4th of July then at Pan American Games processing with Team USA. This competition comes every four years in the year before the Olympics. The 2011 Guadalajara event was my favorite meet ever.

Processing involves checking in and picking up some official USA gear. Here is a picture of us in our new Nike swag:


After processing we headed to the Village where we completed a quick debriefing with Team USA staff. The village is like a mini Olympic village. There are several high rises housing athletes, coaches, staff, etc.

This giant decal is an example of all the patriotic decorations around:


My personal favorite part is the dining hall! The food selection is excellent, so many fresh, healthy options.


After lunch we had a great first training session at the pool.

Much more to come!!

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