When these Southlake sisters are in sync, the results can be stunning.
Sisters Katina and Valeria Aceves teamed up with Alisha Nathani of Irving to place 10th in the 18- to 19-year-old trio event earlier this month at the 2014 eSynchro Age Group Synchronized Swimming Championships. The Aceves sisters and Nathani represented Irving-based Pirouettes of Texas (PTX) synchronized swimming team and were among 1,000 athletes ages 11 through 19 to compete in the event in Federal Way, Washington, near Seattle.
"The trio performed well at Nationals because they were well synchronized, which accounted for a significant portion of their technical merit score," PTX coach Laura Barlow said. "Another strength was their artistic impression, which includes the choreography, the manner of presentation and how they interpreted the music."
Katina, the older sister, said she knew the routine was well-executed, but it was hard to tell how they’d finish until the results were announced.
"It felt like a good swim," the 18-year-old Southlake Carroll graduate said. "At nationals, you never know. The other people have been working hard just like you have. That was our goal all year to finish top 10."
The swimmers got creative, Barlow said. "They wrote some fun, dance-type moves to accompany the score, which helped them to better engage with both the audience and the judges."
The trio routine that Katina, Valeria and Nathani performed lasted about three-and-a-half minutes, and about half that time was spent holding their breath. The trio swam to a medley of Shakira songs.
Katina and Valeria, 16, joined Nathani, Southlake Carroll sophomore Maddi Long and four other PTX teammates to finish 13th in the 18-19 team event, which Butterfield described as a fun performance to Michael Jackson tunes. They also paired up to place 16th in the 18-19 duet event.
The Aceves sisters also placed eighth in duet in April at the U.S. Nationals event.
"That was really exciting for us that we got to go," Katina said. "It was a good experience because we got to see a lot of the collegiate swimmers and compete against them."
That’s not the only competing they’ve done together. The pair played varsity water polo for Southlake Carroll. "It has a lot of the same movements as synch," Katina said. "The way you stay up in the water is the same in both sports."
The Age Group Nationals wrapped up their competition year – and it’s likely their last time competing as teammates. Valeria will be a junior at Carroll in the fall, while Katina graduated from high school in June and will be attending the University of Arkansas.
"The trio had a great last swim for Katina," Butterfield said. "We’re going to miss having her on the team, but I’m so proud of what she’s worked with them to accomplish this season."
Katina will miss competing in the water with her younger sister. "We’re actually really, really close," Katina said. "Since she turned 6 we’ve been swimming together – basically our whole lives."