Sports / The Ladies
Freddie Mercury, Synchronized Swimming, and Female Anger: A Retiree's Perspective
by Jen Graves
on Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM
Ona Carbonell is "the mermaid" of Barcelona, I am told, tempestuous like Gaudi.
What I am about to say is for nerds. Carbonell, like many synchronized swimmers of the last decade and seemingly increasingly so, does many things that my coaches told me not to do. She is extremely free with splashing and spitting. We were taught never to splash, and always to exhale before emerging from underwater so as to avoid the blowfish effect you see from world-champion swimmers today.
Despite the fact that people outside synchronized swimming continue to ask the same dumb questions about the sport thirty years after it entered the Olympics, and sports news outlets continue to exist outside the sport they're supposedly covering, the truth of the relationship between synchronized swimmer, water, and air is the real subject.
Watching this video of Carbonell leaves me wondering if I'm feeling anything like women did who were told not to wear short skirts and then saw their daughters growing up to defiantly and proudly wear short skirts. All the splashing and spitting feels kind of like letting female anger come out in the pool—which we never did. My fights with the water were epic, and rendered invisible.