no avatar

BEUSCHEL: Diving into memories after Catalina Club performance

• Mar 21, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Spring is just around the corner! Snow is melting! Ponds are unfreezing!

But darn it all, I’m still not going to pull my orange snowplow markers from the sides of the driveway. I know how fickle Michigan can be when it comes to seasonal change.

But one thing I can count on as spring rounds the corner is the Catalina Club of Grand Haven High School putting on their synchronized swim show.

This year’s production was titled “Swimming Through the Cities.” My granddaughter and I arrived 45 minutes early for the 4 p.m. performance Saturday and the parking lot was already filling up, as were the bleachers poolside. As we sat waiting for the start of the show, we looked through the program and discovered there was also a boys’ Catalina Club!

Some of the performances were by grade-level groups, some were a combination of grades, some were just the officers of the clubs and some were a random assortment of swimmers. And then there was the between-performances skits by the boys’ club. They were a stitch! Boys being boys thought up goofy stints like a fashion show, dog show, competitive belly flopping and running on float pads.

I got a kick out of my granddaughter watching this silliness. She kept looking at me like she couldn’t believe someone would actually put themselves out there like this, being so silly.

All the music for the 13 routines had a name of a city in the title. Many were not familiar to me, but three I knew for sure, or at least I thought I did. I knew the songs “Chicago” and “Havana,” and I thought I knew “California Girls.” Wrong! I started to sing the Beach Boys version, but my granddaughter challenged me and said it wasn’t the Beach Boys version of the song. She bet it was the version by Katy Perry, and she was right.

What a disappointment. I so love that Beach Boys song. Guess my age is showing again.

The costuming for the performances was theme-related and simple enough to easily slip off just before the swimmers left the deck and dove into the pool. At the end of each performance, the costumes were quickly removed from the deck and the deck was dried off so the next group could safely make their way to the pool. The area around the pool was decorated to follow the theme with a lighted city skyline.

This show was a whole package of music, lighting, costuming and decorations accenting the swim routines that varied in difficulty and number of swimmers.

At the end of the show, the swimmers were introduced by grade level and seated around the poolside. There were over 200 swimmers! There wasn’t an open space around the pool side. This is amazing as this is a club activity.

I’m sure some of these swimmers also compete on swim teams, which means being in the Catalina Club extends their swim season. If you love swimming, what a great opportunity to be in the water a little bit longer!

I love swimming in a swimming pool. I grew up spending summers at the community pool with my brother. It was a safe way for us to spend the day while my parents worked. Because I loved swimming so much when I started teaching in Allendale back in the ‘70s, the girls gym teacher and I started up a synchronized swim club using a pool at an apartment complex by the now-Grand Valley State University.

As I have been purging through boxes of old photos recently, I came upon a black and white photo of myself, the other coach and our synchronized swim club members. In the traditional one-piece Speedo swimsuits, no less! We all had big hair and slim bodies. What a hoot! I think we did this program for several years and it was always fun picking out the theme, music, costumes and planning the routines.

The closest I’ve come to being back in the water is going to the Spring Lake Aquatic Center several years ago. I enjoyed the family pool area because it was warmer than the competitive pool side. Floating around in the lazy river area gave me the feeling of really swimming again, with a little help from the current. Going around that lazy river-type loop, I could run, jump and skip. The buoyancy of the water was a wonderful morale booster since I couldn’t do any of this on dry land.

I love being by the water, but the power of Lake Michigan keeps me close to the shoreline on beach visits. I am so thankful to live in the Tri-Cities area where swim opportunities abound, both indoors and outside. You won’t see me sporting a Speedo anymore, but I have found swimwear suitable for the senior figure.

With spring approaching, I better locate my swimwear and get ready to visit the campground pool with my granddaughter and sister-in-law. It seems that, with each passing year, the pool water feels colder, so the most wear and tear my swimsuit gets is getting on and off the deck chairs around the pool.

— By Janice R. Beuschel, Tribune community columnist

Recommended for You

    Grand Haven Tribune Videos