Grace is a school that’s home to students and teachers involved in a number of unique and impressive hobbies outside of the school. From sports to non-teaching jobs, the Grace community is one that is quite diverse in its extracurricular enterprises.
Hannah Halberg is a junior at the High School and is also a competitive synchronized swimmer. Synchronized swimming is a sport that is not very common in the realm of high school sports, as there are very few schools around the country that have a team. I sat down with Hannah to discuss and learn more about the life she lives outside of school as a synchronized swimmer.
My most pressing question for Hannah was how she first got introduced to synchronized swimming. Hannah explained that her mother is a chiropractor and worked at the Pan American Games, where she treated many synchronized swimmers. Her mom thought Hannah would be interested in the sport and should give it a try.
Hannah fell in love with the sport, the second she stepped into the pool, and has been doing it ever since; “I have made incredible friends through synchronized swimming from all different walks of life and from all over the country. Some of my good friends live in Minnesota and Colorado,” shared Hannah. That was four years ago. Currently, Hannah swims for a team called Imagine Synchro. The team was started in 2014 and is still run by Paola Tirados, a three-time olympian.
Synchronized swimming is a challenging activity to partake in and requires a lot of commitment from its swimmers. Hannah competes year-round in competitions primarily in New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. She’s in the pool practicing five to six times a week, and each practice can range from two to four hours long. Hannah’s team works hard all year in order to prepare for both Nationals and Junior Olympics, the most significant events of the year.
Hannah is completely enthralled with synchronized swimming and hopes that by her senior year, she will be ready to try out for the U.S. National Team. Hannah also hopes to swim at the collegiate level, and maybe someday make it to the Olympics!
My final question for Hannah was about her favorite part about being a synchronized swimmer. Hannah said, “My favorite thing about being a synchronized swimmer is how challenging it is. It is a combination of swimming, gymnastics, and dance put into one. Synchronized swimmers need to have endurance and energy throughout their routines. For instance, we aren’t allowed to touch the bottom of the pool when we are swimming. During routines, swimmers hold their breath for minutes at a time; half our routines are performed underwater.”
Hannah is one of many Grace students who partake in unique extracurricular activities, yet many of their fellow peers have no idea that they have these interesting hobbies. The culture section of The Grace Gazette is now going to start doing profiles on these extraordinary members of our community so that more people can learn about the talent around our school. Stay tuned for our next feature as we continue to sit down with members of the Grace community who are doing extraordinary things!