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May 6, 2009 > Fremont girls participate in U.S. Senior National Synchronized Swimming Championships

Fremont girls participate in U.S. Senior National Synchronized Swimming Championships

By Biff Jones

On Thursday-Saturday, April 30 to May 2, Stanford University's Avery Aquatic Center hosted the 2009 Senior Nationals for synchronized swimming. The event brought together the best solo, duet and team (eight) synchronized swimmers from across the United States, plus the Brazilian National Team as honorary guests.

On Thursday, all the athletes participated in the preliminary free swim followed on Friday by the preliminary technical swim. Saturday, the finals took place in which the top eight teams in the three events (solo, duet and team) qualified. Final placement was decided by taking 50 percent of both the free swim score and technical score and adding them together. A perfect score is 100.

More than 100 elite athletes competed for national titles in the three events in the nation's most prestigious competition. The 2009 U.S. National Championships marked the 64th year of national competition in the duet and team events, and the 60th year of solo competition. Synchronized swimming requires strength, precision, grace and teamwork, and is considered a combination of swimming, gymnastics and dance.

After Saturday's finals, Barb Nesbitt of Ohio State won the solo competition with a score of 93.750; the top duet was Becky Kim and Meghan Kinney of OSU, also with a score of 93.750; and the top team was the Santa Clara Aquamaids "A" team, scoring 94.083 (SCA "B" team finished in eighth place).

OSU won the overall high point total with 43 points; SCA was second with 37; Walnut Creek was third with 19; and Stanford finished fourth with 17. USA Synchro is pushing to get the best athletes into the college program rather than staying in the club program, although the clubs will remain the foundation for developing the young synchro swimmers.

SCA "B" and "C" teams have three Fremont residents swimming for them that competed in the Senior Nationals. On the "B" team are Wendy Lu and Phoebe Jen, and on the "C" team is Katie Frelikh. SCA "B" team also was the winner of the 2009 U.S. Junior Championships, swimmers who do not turn 19 before the end of the calendar year.

Next competition for SCA "B" and "C" teams will be the U.S. Open in Tucson, Arizona, July 15-19.

Lu is the daughter of Wen Lin and Lewis Lu. She is a senior at Mission San Jose High, previously attended Hopkins Jr. High and has received a perfect score in reading, math and chemistry on the SAT. She also does speed swimming, ballet and plays the piano. Lu will attend Stanford this fall. She has been swimming synchro for eight years, hopes to make the U.S. Senior National Team I or II for 2009, and wants to swim synchro for Stanford.

Jen is the daughter of Joni and Eric Jen and previously attended Weibel Elementary and Hopkins. She is a sophomore at Mission San Jose High and would like to be an interior designer. Her colleges of interest are Stanford and UCLA. Jen started synchronized swimming in the fourth grade by enrolling in the SCA summer program before joining the all-year program, and is in her seventh year of synchro.

Frelikh was a freshman at Mission San Jose until a couple of months ago when her family moved. She is now a freshman at Kennedy High in Fremont. She, like Jen, is also interested in Stanford and UCLA, and hopes to become a medical doctor. If that does not workout, then she has an interest in fashion design. Her parents are Lidia Nikolaenko and Eduard Frelikh. She started swimming synchro at age 9 in Russia. After coming to the U.S. she did speed swimming for Mission San Jose Aquatics and joined SCA a year and a half ago. Frelikh attended elementary school in Russia before enrolling at Hopkins Jr. High.

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