Becca Barlow was five years old when she signed herself up for synchronized swimming.
“I just saw it one day at Emler’s (swim school) and decided that I really wanted to do it,” the Keller teen said.
Like most kids, Barlow tried a multitude of sports while trying to find her niche. When she started synchronized swimming, she was playing soccer and ice skating.
“I did not like running so the pool was definitely where I belonged,” Barlow said.
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Eleven years later after starting, she’s still competing. Most recently, she and her partner Carla Reyes placed seventh out of 40 other duets in the 16-17 age group at the 2014 U.S. eSynchro Age Group Synchronized Swimming Championships in Federal Way, Wash.
“We kind of knew a little bit where we would end up, and we were just hoping for the best. We knew we finished the routine score in fifth, and it was all up to figures at that point,” Barlow said. “And our figures were OK and we’d probably end up about seventh in the end, and we were just hoping for the best we could get.”
Barlow doesn’t fold under pressure. The Keller native’s seventh-place finish was at her eighth-straight trip to the Age Group Championships. This year, she finished eighth out of 39 in the 16-17 solo event and 15th in the 16-17 compulsory figures.
For Barlow, competition is her favorite part of the sport.
“The adrenaline of like, competing and then being able to swim your best and just swim against the rest of the judges is my favorite part,” Barlow said.
It hasn’t always been easy for her.
Last year, she missed the cut for the solo finals at the national competition. This year, she qualified for a spot at the U.S. Open in Henderson, Nev., which is an international competition.
“She’s really taken to synchro quite fast so she had some success early on, and then when she got into the more competitive age groups like 13-15, she struggled a little bit, but she kept with it,” Becca’s mother Laura said.
This dedication paid off.
Things got better for Becca. Now she will compete in the Junior 15-18 Solo Preliminary among athletes from Canada, Mexico and Aruba, among other U.S. athletes.
“It’s a different competition at the U.S. Open because there are international competitors there so probably won’t do as well as Ages, but she’s hoping to place,” Laura said.
Rebecca started training at Pirouettes of Texas Synchronized Swimming in Irving in 2005. Laura coaches ages 13-15 there now after being introduced to the sport five years ago by Rebecca. She’s been to two masters national competitions.
“It really is a sport that is just plain fun. It really is,” Laura said.