Imagine running a 100m sprint while holding your breath, then taking a short breath and having to run again for about two minutes.
That is how Aquagold Synchronised Swimming Club’s newest coach Cat Robertson (19) describes the sport.
“But it’s a lot more fun than running,” she said.
“I am not a runner by any means. I much prefer being in the water.”
Robertson joined the club at the start of the year when she moved to Dunedin from Tauranga to study.
She joins fellow coach Emma Simpson-Boyce.
Robertson has been involved in the sport for about five years, after attending a sports registration day.
She was keen to give rowing or rugby a go but her physiotherapist mother told her “no way”, because of the impact the sports have on the body, and encouraged her to try synchronised swimming.
Robertson had done ballet for 13 years and swam competitively so synchronised swimming seemed like a good mix of the sports.
“It’s quite a nice marriage between the two, I think.”
Robertson said she had always loved being in and around water, and the exercise component of the sport was “awesome”.
It was a nice change from swimming laps in straight lines looking at the bottom of the pool, she said.
“It’s such a dynamic sport. There’s always something new to do.”
In Tauranga, she was coached by former Brazilian representatives Suzanne Ribeiro and Lara Teixeira.
They taught her the importance of building strength outside the water and incorporated gym sessions into her training.
She has since competed in North Island and national events.
North Island clubs were much bigger than those in the South Island, and Robertson hoped to help grow Aquagold and put it “on the map”.
“I think it’s such an amazing sport for young girls to be doing everywhere.”
Club president Phyll Esplin met Robertson at a clinic in December and asked if she wanted to be involved when she moved down.
Robertson said she was initially planning to wait before getting involved but “I could not really say no because I love it so much and I have such a passion for it”.
Esplin said the club was “very lucky” to have Robertson and she brought with her a different set of skills to teach the girls.
The club is holding a “have a go day” on July 20 for people interested in learning more about the sport.
Esplin said people will learn the basic skills involved in synchronised swimming, such as “egg-beating” and somersaults.
Egg-beating is when people use their legs to keep their body above the water, she said.
“Their legs are going like little duck legs.”
Club members will also perform one of their routines.
The open day will be held at the dive pool, Moana Pool, from 11am.
Esplin said anyone was welcome to attend and children with a background in ballet or gymnastics usually took to the sport naturally.
It was important that anyone who wanted to get involved knew how to swim, she said.