Community Update From Pleatco Filtration

For the past 7 years, Pleatco Filtration has proudly been one of the key sponsors of Team USA — Artistic Swimming (Formerly USA Synchronized Swimming) and in particular has supported the U.S. National Team in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics.

The U.S. National Team of 12 elite swimmers from around the nation trains full time about 20 miles from San Francisco. However, the pool in which they train shut down midway through March. The coronavirus pandemic left the swimmers without a pool and without one another—two essential elements of the sport of synchronized swimming. When the virus halted sporting events around the world, the U.S. National Team was in the midst of its preparation for the Olympic qualification event in Tokyo that had been scheduled to begin in April. With the stay-at-home order in place and the heart-breaking postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, the coaches adjusted their planning.

"Let’s stop fighting nature,” says Andrea Fuentes, the U.S. National Team coach and four-time Olympic medalist for Spain. “The virus is a virus. You cannot go against it, so just accept that we have to adapt."

Rather than training the group at the pool each day, Andrea now leads workouts online from home. The swimmers work through routines on land — leaning on drills, practicing with only arm motions or doing headstands so their legs can move as they would above the water. Through virtual sessions, the swimmers have stayed fit and in sync while forging connections with others who share their sport and these new challenges.

"We make sure to do something special and different and fun every day to keep the motivation very high," says Coach Fuentes.

In addition to the U.S. team’s daily training Fuentes has organized international sessions, allowing artistic swimmers around the globe to work out together on a video chat. A few days after the first call between swimmers from the United States and Israel, Fuentes invited national teams from countries in North and South America and this has spread globally with teams from Italy, Canada and Russia joining in for daily combined training. This is something no one would have ever foreseen in the history of the sport. One recent online training session saw an athlete from every nation on the call presenting the others with a challenge or exercise.

Finally as word got out the National Artistic Swim Team was asked to be joined in the daily sessions by a slew of other Team USA Olympic teams from an array of disciplines, from USA Karate, Weightlifting, Field Hockey, Wrestling, Luge, Sailing, Diving, Archery, Fencing and even Figure Skating, uniting Team USA is an incredibly poignant fashion.

This story is one of great depth and substance, showing how our young talented athletes and their amazing coaches, both in the pool and out are showing our nation and the world what true grit really looks like. At Pleatco we congratulate and support Team USA and commend each and every swimmer on the U.S. National Artistic Swimming Team for their leadership, good-will and guiding spirit. As their new motto says...“We move as one!”

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