Good luck in Florida, ladies

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It may have been Saturday Night Live that gave the sport of synchronized swimming the comedic edge that many associate with it, or it may have been simply people’s tendency to think derisively about things that are new or which they don’t really understand. But one thing is sure: The comedy and derision are undeserved, as synchronized swimmers face some of the most rigorous training and require some of the most well-developed muscle structures in all of sport.

That’s why it’s so unusual for the sport to feature senior participants.

But a team featuring a first-grade teacher from Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and her 57-year-old sister and 80-year-old mother could well turn things on their heads this weekend during a competition in Florida.

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Suffolk’s Kim Wagner, 54, is the youngest of the trio, which she believes also sets a new mark in its composition, featuring, as far as she can tell, the first mother and two daughters to compete in the sport.

The team will compete in a technical routine on Friday and a free routine on Saturday at the U.S. Masters Championship, a Team USA-sanctioned event that is open to participants 21 years and older. It seems a safe bet that Wagner’s 80-year-old mother will see more participants who could be her grandchildren than her contemporaries.

Complicating the training process for the trio is the fact that Wagner’s teammates both live in New York. But on Friday and Saturday they hope that many hours in the pool — together and apart — along with endless hours of strength training — a synchronized swimmer’s legs must be capable of supporting her throughout a routine without the swimmer touching the bottom — combine to give them success.

For many of us, simply mustering the lung capacity to swim underwater across the pool is a challenge. We are amazed at the dedication, training and perseverance it takes to excel in a sport like synchronized swimming, and we applaud these ladies for their hard work. It’s a testament to the human body’s ability to remain strong and healthy, even in the senior years.

We wish these ladies the best in their foray into Florida waters, and we are completely serious when we note how their efforts buoy our spirits.