Will understood that the most important resource for synchronized swimming is good coaching. It was Will who brought coach Kay from Paso Robles to Santa Clara. He negotiated with the City for a pool and worked with Austin Warburton to establish the Aquamaids as a non-profit institution. He is being honored here for his many years of service (president, narrator, writer of articles, promoter of good sound systems, producer of educational films, and more). He is pictured with the fourth Head Coach, Chris Carver whom he mentored.
Kay coached from 1964 – 1975. She produced many champions during those years including our own, Nancy Hines.
Nancy Hines came to Santa Clara to swim under Head Coach Kay Vilen. The duet team of HInes and Welshons was the first to wind a gold medal for Santa Clara. It was the beginning of the Santa Clara “gold rush.”
This is the first gold medal team win by the Aquamaids. All of these swimmers came from other parts of the United States to swim under famed Coach Kay Vilen.
Gail was a grand slam Aquamaid Champion on the national level. She went on to coach the Aquamaids for two years. She also worked for Walnut Creek and served the national team for many years.
If one could name the most outstanding volunteer/supporter of the Aquamaids, it would be Jeffrey Lum. Jeffrey served as our Tresurer for 20 years and revolutionized our archaic financial accounting into a real business. His creative abilities were evident in the outstanding contributions he made to our famous Water Shows. Jeffrey sponsored other athletes in need and supported the Head Coach technically throughout her career. He continues to help her with editing equipment to this day. Jeffrey never asked for a favor. His philosophy was that if he worked to make the organization better, his daughter “might” proper as would other young women. She did prosper. Kristina became a 2000 Olympian and was the partner of Bill May for many years. Bill and Kristina were instrumental in driving the newest event, mixed duet, into world competition. Kristina is now a performer at La Reve in Las Vegas.
Larry Wolf was the successor to Earl Carmichael who allowed the Aquamaids to reside in the international pool. Larry was very supportive of our program and a true friend to the Aquamaids. Brandy attended Santa Clara University and was a sport celebrity following women’s soccer success.
Chris Carver and Gail Emery (of Walnut Creek) coached the first team event in the Olympic Games. Prior to 1996 only the solo and duet events were a part of the games (first time in 1984). They won the gold in Atlanta. There were four Aquamaids on the team….Heather Simmons Carrasco, Becky Dyroen-Lancer, Suzannah Dyrone Biance, and Jill Sudduth Smith. Chris was their coach from 1980 though 1996. After the Games, all Olympians were invited to the White House to meet President Clinton and the First Lady. Chris, an animal lover, enjoyed meeting and playing with Socks Clinton (the black and white cat) who was playing on the lawn in front of the Oval Office complete with a fancy collar and his own Secret Service Agent.
This is the technical team in action in Athens, Greece. They placed third in a close battle with Spain (finished fourth) and Japan (finished second). There are seven Aquamaids on this team including the duet (Anna Kozlova and Alison Bartosik). The others are Lauren McFall (team captain), Becky Jasontek, Tammy Crow, Sarah Lowe (now head coach at Stanford Univ.), and Kendra Zanotto Copp. Anna still coaches with us occasionally. Notice how many coaches SCA has produced.
Anna came to the United States from Russia. She had participated in the 1992 Games for Russia but wanted to swim from her heart. She found the Russian system oppressive. She waited our the 1996 Games and became a citizen in 2000. She swam for the USA in 2000 and 2004. In 2004, she and partner Alison Bartosik won the bronze. Alison’s father, Dave, was an outstanding Board President who worked very successfully with the Head Coach to further SCA’s reputation and success.
Cheryl is a successful documentarian who recently produced and directed “Back on Board.” This is the story of the famous diver, Greg Louganis. Cheryl spent almost 3 years filming our 2004 team. The result is the documentary “Sync or Swim.” We are pictured with Cheryl at a film festival in 2006. Dr. Don Chu was our trainer.
Chris Carver and Assistant, Michele Barone Costanza, choreographed and trained the national team in 1984 for the “Classical Splash.” This was a show with Symphony Orchestras. Among other locations, we performed in Santa Clara with what was then, the San Jose Symphony (now Silicon Valley Symphony). Our conductor was Charles Ansbacher from Colorado Springs. This event featured our first Olympian, Tracy Ruiz.
These two young ladies are from Santa Clara and began their career as eight year olds in our age group program. Christina went on to win a gold medal in the first mixed pair event (with Bill May in Russia, 2015). Andrea barely missed the 2004 team and stayed on to become a 2008 Olympian team and duet. Her father, Jeff, is a long time volunteer for the Aquamaids and served as our President.
All longtime Aquamaids and supporters to this day.
Kenyon was a sucessful international male swimmer. The Swiss girls spent two years with the Aquamaids before returning to Switzerland. Kenyon coached with us 2015- 2016.