Itza Diaz-Ayala, mom of All Stars Synchro athletes Limaris and Liana Ayala, said: “As a mom of two daughters in the sport of synchronized swimming since 2009 and as a Level 1 Judge for the USA Synchro, I have the utmost respect for our swimmers.
“I believe our swimmers are the most dedicated, passionate, talented, and strongest swimmers any team can have. They train long hours all year around under the South Florida sun without a squeak. I always tell others that I’ve given birth to fish instead of kids. To say my girls love the water is an understatement. My daughters came to the sport with a background in ballet and competitive swimming; and even though, this gave them a foundation for some necessary skills, they were challenged by the demands of the sport.
“It is said that this sport is the second hardest sport after the triathlon, and I believe it. They train four times per week for three to four hours at a time, and sometimes more hours are required when getting ready for competitions. While doing routines, they are so graceful that people forget they are not touching the floor and at many times holding their breath for almost two minutes. They are defying all kinds of natural laws with a smile on their faces. Now that’s synchronized swimming.
“My daughters have made it to the national championships, twice under the coaching of Yamilet Alvarez. Just like any organized sport, my girls have tasted the sweetness of triumphs and bitterness of defeat. More importantly, they have learned some real-life lessons about sportsmanship, discipline, teamwork, and leadership.
“I, along with All Stars Synchro Team, are thankful for the support and confidence of Imperio Auto Repair from Doral, which has donated the money to provide transportation for Liana and her teammates for nationals in Riverside, Calif.”
Limaris and Liana Ayala, Carolina Maeso and Valeria Hernandez have been doing synchro together since 2009. Limaris and Liana have been homeschooled since 2009. They were recently accepted to the Miami Arts Charter School and will join Valeria Hernandez, Liana’s Trio Routine partner, who has already been at the school.
Rutsie Hernandez, mom of All Stars Synchro athlete Carolina Maeso, said: “I am overly proud of all the accomplishments that she has achieved, both in synchronized swimming, as well as in her personal life. Carolina is a very dedicated girl who does not stop trying until she masters any skill given.
“In All Stars Synchro, the team practices four days a week. During school days, she gets home after 9:30 p.m.; she then eats and finishes any homework or studies for any tests that she might have. Synchronized swimming, as well as many other sports, develops an extreme amount of personal discipline, teaching the athletes to manage their time diligently.
“As a funny note, one of her teachers from Bob Graham Education Center, where she just finished sixth grade, asked her, ‘Carolina, how is it that you are good in school (member of the National Junior Honor Society), you play the harp and on top of that you do synchronized swimming and get medals?’ Carolina, being as shy as she is, does not brag about it. She just sees it as a Blessing from God.
“Synchronized swimming requires understanding both mentally and physically of your body movements. Carolina has been doing synchronized swimming for more than four years. Linda Espinosa, her coach for more than three years, has been a great influence; and the reason why my daughter is where she is in the sport. Carolina loves the sport and her coach so much that she does not mind all the sacrifices that come with it. Her dedication to the sport has made her succeed. It is hard to say how far she will go, but for now, she is enjoying every minute of it.”