The Santa Clara Aquamaids
Synchronized Swimming Club was founded in 1964 by Wilbur Luick. Will brought
Kay Vilen to the Aquamaids as the Head Coach at that time. Other Bay Area
synchronized swimmers were attracted to the Aquamaids and Kay Vilen’s
coaching expertise and techniques. In 1970 Mrs. Vilen was nominated for
and accepted the Synchronized Swimming Hall of Fame Award for her contribution
to the sport. Gail Johnson and Pam Albin Edwards, two of Kay’s swimmers,
held positions as Head Coach in 1976 and 1980, respectively after her death.
Chris Carver assumed the role of Head Coach in 1984. Her national and international reputation for innovative choreography and pursuit of excellence is now the standard by which the sport is measured. She coached the 1993 senior A team to victory and has since coached Aquamaids solos, duets and teams to 14 national titles. Four Aquamaids, Becky Dyroen-Lancer, Jill Sudduth, Suzannah Bianco and Heather Simmons-Carrasco, who came up through the age group program culminated their swimming careers by winning gold medals at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta in team routines choreographed and coached by Chris. Chris has received the “Coach of the Year”award for the past fourteen years.
Chris Carver was named the Head Coach of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Her nine-member 2000 Synchronized Swimming Olympic Team was comprised of seven Aquamaids –Carrie Barton, Bridget Finn, Anna Kozlova, Kristina Lum, Elicia Marshall, Tuesday Middaugh and Kim Wurzel. 2000 saw the return of Duets to the Games with Santa Clara’s Anna Kozlova and Tuesday Middaugh representing the USA.
In 2003 our club was challenged to produce more elite swimmers faster than ever before. Chris Carver was again named the Head Coach of the USA Olympic Synchronized Swimming Training Squad. Nine of Santa Clara’s All-American swimmers were busy training with Chris Carver for their spot on the X FINA World Championships, which earned a Team Bronze and a Combo Silver in Barcelona,Spain and at the Pan American Games, winning a Duet Gold and a Team Gold in the Dominican Republic. While back at home five Second Team All Americans made up the core of our National “A’team that successfully defended our 12th overall and 11th consecutive National Championship.
Early in 2004 U.S.A. Synchronized Swimming picked the Olympic Duet, two aquamaids, Alison Bartosik and Anna Kozlova were the first two Olympians named to the USA Team for the Athens Games. This made the Aquamaids home of the 2000 and 2004 duet representing the USA at the Olympics. Later that year five other Aquamaids were named to the 2004 Olympic Team, Tammy Crow, Becky Jasontek, Sara Lowe, Lauren McFall and Kendra Zanotto making seven Olympians for the Athens Games from the Aquamaids. This group of swimmers were able to celebrate the end of their swimming careers as Aquamaids by putting the USA back on the Podium in Duet and Team with a Bronze Medal in both competitions at “The Games in Athens.”The USA had not won a Olympic Medal in Duet since 1992 and a Team Medal since 1996. Alison Bartosik and Anna Kozlova were two of only twenty- two multiple medal winners on the 2004 USA Olympic Team. The Athens Games were the third Olympiad for both Chris Carver as the Head Coach and Anna Kozlova as a swimmer. Andrea Nott was the team alternate. We also had a second duet that swam and trained with the Santa Clara Aquamaids that also competed in the 2004 Olympic Games representing their country of the Netherlands, Sonja and Bianca Van der Velden. Nancy Hines, who has been a long time Assistant Coach to Chris and the Aquamaids, was named as the 2004 Olympic Team Manager. Our own Dr. Don Chu was appointed Olympic Team Trainer. The City of Santa Clara and the Aquamaids where also the host site for the Olympic training team. While our remaining Aquamaids defended our 13th overall and 12th consecutive National Championships. 2004 also marked our 40th year as a club.
The Aquamaids have produced
more USA Olympic Synchronized Swimmers than any other club since synchronized
swimming became an Olympic sport in 1952.
2005 begins with change as the national training site is moved from Santa Clara to the USOC Training Centers for testing of what could be a year round training camp. Chris Carver steps aside as National Team Coach after more then twenty years service on the USA National Team Coaching Staff. As some things change others remain the same with the Santa Clara Aquamaids defending our 14th overall and 13th consecutive National Championships.
Further evidence of the depth and talent of the Aquamaids coaching staff are the assistant and age group coaches who have coached their swimmers to victories at every level. This year Santa Clara Aquamaids have won or medaled in every major national and international competition in the sport and have placed more swimmers on national teams than any other synchronized swimming organization. We are currently the most decorated synchronized swimming club in the world.
The club’s 60 plus swimmers, ranging in age from seven to 26, bring to our community an abundance of ethnic diversity, talent, enthusiasm and pride for a sport they love and to a club that is committed to all around excellence. We have had the privilege of hosting international swimmers from all parts of the world: Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland, France, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa. The parent group’s countless hours in support of the club’s many activities including fund-raising, production of water shows and hosting world class competitive meets is a testament to the devotion which exists within the Aquamaid family. This powerful balance of teamwork from swimmers, coaches and parents will continue to lead the Aquamaids to new successes and fulfilled dreams in yet another year of competition.