On Saturday, Stanford synchronized swimming competed in its only home meet of the season, defeating Lindenwood, which scratched in all but the team event. The meet also served as Senior Day for the team, honoring seniors Joanna Langner and Amanda Urke.
“It’s a unique opportunity to be surrounded by such elite athletes but also such loyal friends,” Urke said about her time at Stanford.
Throughout the meet, the Cardinal posted high scores in each performance. In the trio performance, freshman Grace Alwan, junior Natalie Fletcher and sophomore Caitlin Klauer performed to Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” Their routine was quick and fiery from the get-go. The performance was characterized by long leg extensions and smooth coordination that made it look like the three swimmers were triplets. This team scored a 79.800, which marginally beat out the second Stanford trio team of junior Karen Li, sophomore Jacklyn Luu and freshman Sabrina Walsh, which put up a score of 79.700.
Lindenwood scratched in the trio, duet and solo event. They only competed in the team routine.
In the duet portion of the afternoon, Alwan and Klauer carried out a tasteful and well-perfected routine to folk music that worked to amp up the performance. The underwater sequences occurred in amazing unison. Each sway of Alwan’s arm was mirrored by Klauer’s. Their big jumps out of the water were well-timed to the music and executed with a feathery finesse.
With bright smiles, the crowd hyped up Alwan and Klauer, with collective cheers filling the misty mid-afternoon air. As the fiddle on the track quickened, the duet responded with a flurry of leg moves above the surface and a seamless transition into a movement that featured their heads breaking the surface and right arms circling their heads for a penultimate twirl. This duet pair recorded a score of 83.6667.
In the second duet, Luu and freshman Alexandra Suarez scored 80.6667. Right from the dive, their routine was graceful and light, yet the music brought an ominous tone to the performance that was reflected in the choreography. As drums filled the backbeat, Luu and Suarez’s legs snapped together in the air like a shark’s jaw catching its prey. At one moment, the duet swiveled their heads right just as the beat of the drum sounded from the music for a perfect move that brought cheers resonating throughout the pool deck.
With leg swirls, they went deeper into the water like a corkscrew lowering itself into the cork of a wine bottle. Just as the music hit a low point and built up to an igniting moment, Luu and Suarez popped out of the water for a partner move where their hands were interlaced. Then, in a swift motion they flipped under water, turned back to back and transitioned into splits with their legs breaking the surface of the water as the song climaxed.
During the team portion, Lindenwood walked out on to the pool deck in a slow, unison march. As they start performing in the water, their flying portions were lofty and high reaching. Right legs were up in the air, while their left legs slapped the surface of the water in unison with the beat of the song. Right as the beat dropped, one of the girls broke the surface and launched into a flip move.
The Cardinal followed with their own team performance. The intense mystifying music perfectly framed the Stanford routine — which was marked with mobility throughout the pool and multiple flyer moves that were aptly and precisely completed. The end of the performance was completed with a big flip as one of the members was launched by her teammates into the air. The cohesion of the team was palpable.
“The team has really great cohesion and energy with us this year,” Urke said. “We’re fired up. We’re ready to prove ourselves at nationals.” The entire routine earned a score of 82.4000, out performing Lindenwood’s team score of 79.6333.
Next, Stanford will travel to Tucson, Arizona, on March 1-2 for the Western Regionals.
Contact Nandini Naidu at nnaidu ‘at’ stanford.edu.