Thursday, July 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

AquaStarz: A team on the rise

By
From page B1 | July 09, 2014 |

Aquastarz1w

During a practice this week for their annual show, Davis AquaStarz synchronized swimmer Maddie Peauroi leaps into the air off of teammate Jessica Hughes' shoulders. The rapidly expanding team will present "British Invasion" Friday and Saturday nights at Community Pool. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

As head coach of the Davis AquaStarz synchronized swimming team, Meredith Fleener has seen both the girls and the program itself mature in the past six years.

“More than any other team I’ve been a part of or ever coached, they work well as a unit, they want each other to succeed and they care about the welfare of the team as a whole,” Fleener said. “We have lots of exceptional people.”

The AquaStarz will show off their synchronization skills for the Davis community in a “British Invasion” show at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Community Pool, 201 E. 14th St. Tickets may be purchased online in advance for $5 or at the door for $8.

The AquaStarz were a tiny synchronized swimming team less than a decade ago with “no chance of winning any of the meets we went to,” according to recent Davis High School graduate Maddie Peauroi, who has been with the squad since 2006.

“We have come a long way, in not a lot of time,” said Natalie Shuman, another recent DHS graduate who is in her seventh year of synchronized swimming.

Now with 47 members, the team has lengthened both its roster and its list of accomplishments. This season, the AquaStarz are undefeated for the second year in a row.

Winning all four dual meets against the other teams in the Valley Foothill Competitive Aquatic League — the Auburn Mermaids, the Cordova Cordettes, the FEC Stingrays and the Sunrise Swans — was a “phenomenal and rewarding feeling,” fifth-year swimmer Megan Wong said.

The team has been working hard and improving for the past few years, and “it was kind of a long time coming,” Fleener said.

“I think the girls got a taste of what it feels like to win in the last few years and they like it, and so they want to work harder to make it a more regular occurrence,” Fleener continued.

Shuman credits the coaches for the team’s success:

“Meredith works so hard for all of us all the time, and Lara (Cardy) drives up on Saturdays from San Jose,” she said.

Peauroi agreed, adding that “total involvement from everyone who participates and a growing recognition of the sport has also been important.”

Winning all four dual meets has only driven the team to work even harder, according to Wong.

“We know what it feels like to win, and it would be great to feel that same feeling for championships,” she said.

The team will defend last year’s title at the regional championships in Auburn on July 18 and 20.

When the season ends, the AquaStarz will say goodbye to Peauroi, Shuman, Wong and the other recent high school graduates on the team: Emma Meads, Mia Unger and Elli Sperandio.

Fleener describes them as “great role models who lead by example and bring a lot to our team.”

“It’ll definitely affect us (when they leave),” she added, “but we have a lot of good, strong, younger girls who are ready to come in and try and step into their shoes.”

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