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August 13, 2008 > Fremont native competes on Olympic Synchronized Swim Team

Fremont native competes on Olympic Synchronized Swim Team

By Biff Jones
Photos By Kenny Krug and Brian Horii

Born in Missoula, MT, Christina Jones was raised and educated in Fremont. The 5'9" attractive blond and soon to be 21 year old is the daughter of Noel and Kathleen Jones of Fremont. She attended James Leitch and Warm Springs Elementary schools, Irvington High School her freshman year, then graduated high school from Vista Alternative School, all of Fremont. Growing up in Fremont, she tried soccer, gymnastics and ice skating along with swimming at the Fremont Swim School, Warm Springs Aquatic Gators and the Cabana Club, before settling on synchronized swimming with the Santa Clara Aquamaids at the age of seven.

Jones has attended all FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation) Junior or Senior events since 2001. FINA is the international governing body of all aquatic sports. She was a member of the 2006 U.S. National Championship Team and the 2007 USA Gold Medal winning team at the Pan American Games.

Eight swimmers are used in the team competition of the Olympics although at lower levels of competition a team may have four to eight swimmers. However, there is a deduction in points for each team using fewer than eight swimmers, times the number of swimmers not used. The theory is that it is harder to keep eight swimmers in "sync" than a lesser number.

In addition to the team, Jones will compete in the duet competition. Prior to 1996, solo and duet were part of synchronized swimming Olympics. In 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the team event was added while solo and duet were dropped. However, in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the duet competition was reinstated.

Jones' duet partner is 26 year old team member Andrea Nott of San Jose, also 5'9" and a member of the Santa Clara Aquamaids' program. Nott started synchro when she was eleven and the two of them have been duet partners for two to three years on the U.S. National Team and look like twins when performing.

Nott is the daughter of Jeff and Deborah Nott of San Jose and attended The Harker School in San Jose before graduating from St. Francis High School in Mountain View. Before teaming up with Christina Jones, Nott swam duets in juniors, while with the Aquamaids about ten to twelve years ago, with this reporter's daughter, Alyssa Jones Tiner. Andrea Nott has had to put up with the Joneses for much of her synchro life.

Having a child a member of SCA is a lot of work, as one of the parents of Aquamaid swimmers has to work one night a week, fifty-two weeks a year, in the Aquamaids' Bingo Hall to help defray the costs of all the travel and other expenses the swimmers and coaches accrue during their time competing with SCA. If the parents want to travel to an away meet, including the Olympics, then they must get another parent to work for them and pay them back at a different date. An extra few nights of bingo hall work await the return of some of these Olympian's parents.

Eight members of the 2008 Team USA Olympic Synchronized Swimming Team have a Bay Area connection as do most other Olympic Synchronized Swimmers on Team USA. Three out of five of the top U.S. sychro programs are based in the Bay Area. Besides SCA, there are the Walnut Creek Aquanuts and Stanford University. The other two outside the Bay Area are Riverside Aquettes and Ohio State University.

Other members of the 2008 USA Synchro Team are: Brook Abel, Fallbrook, CA (RA), Janet Culp, Littleton, CO (SCA), Kate Kooven, Pleasanton (SCA), Becky Kim, Walnut Creek (WCA), Meghan Kinney, Mission Viejo, CA (RA), Annabelle Orme, Walnut Creek (WCA), Jillian Penner, Seattle, WA (WCA) and Kim Probst, Troy, NY (WCA). The Head Coach is former Olympian, Tammy McGregor (WCA), Head Choreographer, Stephan Miermont of France (formerly SCA) and Team Manager, Denise Shively.

Many elite synchronized swimmers have a huge choice to make after graduating from high school. Do they give up their Olympic dream (the pinnacle of synchro) and go on with their life and further their education, or do they continue to work towards making the Olympic team while putting their college education on hold? Not too many are able to continue both after high school.

Jones and Nott hope to duplicate or improve upon the duet Bronze Medal won by their predecessors Anna Kozlova (SCA and formerly of Russia) and Alison Bartosik (SCA and now a Stanford coach) at the 2004 Athens Olympics. They also hope to capture Bronze or better in the team competition. The 2004 team, led by Head Coach Chris Carver (also of SCA) returned to the medal stand with a Bronze after missing out on the medal count in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The strongest competition should come from Russia (Gold in 2004), Japan (Silver in 2004), Spain and host China. Canada and France also could challenge.

The television schedule for the synchronized swimming competition with the network and times (all PDT) is as follows: Duet technical, Monday, August 18, sometime between 2 a.m. and12 noon, USA and USA HD networks; duet free preliminaries and duet finals, Tuesday and Wednesday, August 19 and 20, 3-5 p.m. or 6-8 p.m. on the Oxygen Network. Team competition preliminaries, Fri night/Sat morning, Aug 22/23, 12:35 a.m. to 2 a.m. and team final, Sat. 23rd, sometime between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Both times for the team competition will be on NBC and NBC HD. None of the synchronized swimming events will be televised live, but anywhere from 12 to 36 hours old. For the latest Olympic TV schedule information, go to NBCOlympics.com.

Go for the Gold Ladies!

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