Synchronized swimmers show grace, athleticism

LOS ANGELES Founded in 2008, the Aqualillies are a mix of old and new /*Hollywood*/. They are synchronized swimmers and dancers, using Southern California pools as their stage.

"What inspires me is a sort of fun 1950s kind of a vibe, with a modern edge," said Mesha, founder and dance choreographer.

Rehearsing at the beautifully restored pool inside the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, the Aqualillies are costumed in 1950s-styled swimsuits, along with their signature bright red, floral swim caps.

"Red lipstick, parasols - it's just so glamorous and fun, and I love it," said Aqualillies dancer Lesley Vaughn.

The 20-or-so members of Aqualillies spend countless hours practicing routines and perfecting challenging moves. One example is the "star flower," where multiple Aqualillies form a floating flower by interlocking hands and wrists while turning 360 degrees.

The troupe includes law students, jewelry designers, horse trainers and more, and several of the members have been competitive swimming together since they were children.

"My mom grew up being a synchronized swimmer, so I saw her perform, and I just knew I wanted to perform," said Brittany of /*Irvine*/.

Synchronized swimming isn't just pretty to watch, it's also a great workout. The Aqualillies currently offer lessons in synchronized swimming. It's a lot of hard work, but the Aqualillies make it look easy.

"You have to know how to swim and just have a smile on your face and a desire to have a good time," Mesha said.

Taking classes with the Aqualillies will give students stronger arms and legs and encourage pointed toes and pretty swimming. Students will learn graceful aquatic dance moves - all this while staying afloat!

"If you want to look great in your swimsuit," Mesha says, "throw on a pair of heels, a swim cap and feel confident this summer, synchronized swimming classes area really fun way to get in shape."

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