Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Media Drown on Cheap Shots in Synchro Sinking

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Media Drown on Cheap Shots in Synchro Sinking

Article excerpt

There's an old saying in journalism: "Be careful of what you make fun of, because you could find yourself upside down attempting a Vertical Split while your lungs rapidly fill with water."

There's a lot of truth in this saying, as I found out when I took the Synchronized Swimming Media Challenge.

Here's what happened: Ever since Synchronized Swimming became an official Olympic sport, we journalists have ridiculed it. The thrust of our gist is: "Exactly what is so athletically impressive about people swimming around in circles while smiling like recently escaped lunatics? ANYBODY could do that!"

Eventually the Synchronized Swimming community got tired of hearing this, and responded as follows: "Oh YEAH? Well how about if YOU try it, Expense Account Butt?"

And thus I found myself at Emory University, wearing nose clips and goggles, in a pool about the size of Lake Huron, only deeper, with a dozen young and extremely fit members of U.S. Synchronized Swimming National Team One, who will basically be the U.S. Olympic Team for the year 2000 Games.

Also in the pool was my synchronized media partner and Miami Herald colleague, sports columnist Dan Le Batard. Dan and I, knowing that the full masculine studliness of our bodies would be on display, had prepared for the challenge via a grueling fitness regimen of not having eaten a single Snickers bar for the entire previous hour. I estimate that our body fat content had plummeted to somewhere around 87 percent.

The spokesperson for U.S. Synchronized Swimming, Laura LaMarca, had told me earlier that we fit the basic profile of journalists who had taken the Challenge.

Dan and I started learning our synchronized maneuvers. The first one was called Eggbeatering, which is when you move your legs around like an eggbeater, so you can keep your head and shoulders above the pool surface while you raise your arms gracefully into the air.

At least that's how it worked for the members of National Team One. …

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