Weekly Feature



2015-04-17 / Sports

ON THE BIGGEST STAGE

Aquettes’ McGee selected for US junior national synchronized swimming team
by LEVI TRIMBLE
Reporter


Alexandra McGee has been selected to the United Stated Junior National Team for synchronized swimming. McGee, a junior at Kenmore East High School, has been training with the Town of Tonawanda Aquettes for the past eight years. McGee will join Anita Alvarez in the US system and will make her team debut at the Pan American age group championships this summer in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Alexandra McGee has been selected to the United Stated Junior National Team for synchronized swimming. McGee, a junior at Kenmore East High School, has been training with the Town of Tonawanda Aquettes for the past eight years. McGee will join Anita Alvarez in the US system and will make her team debut at the Pan American age group championships this summer in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Hard work and determination has paid off for one Tonawanda area synchronized swimmer.

Alexandra McGee, a junior at Kenmore East High School, will be representing Western New York on an international level as she was selected to the United States Junior National Team.

McGee, who has been a member of the Town of Tonawanda Aquettes for the past eight years, earned one of 12 spots on the team after a year-long qualification process.

“It feels really great and it proves hard work can pay off,” said McGee on her selection. “I am very excited to go and train this summer. I am very honored and very excited.”


Alexandra McGee is shown here with her five awards from a tournament in California. McGee will leave for her first training session on June 22. The session is in Riverside, California. Alexandra McGee is shown here with her five awards from a tournament in California. McGee will leave for her first training session on June 22. The session is in Riverside, California. McGee out-performed hundreds of qualifiers, completing three phases of competition and making it through three cuts to earn this honor.

McGee worked closely with Aquettes coach Joanne Wright.

Wright has tutored the young swimming standout and has put her on the path to become a national team member.

McGee’s path began in 2014 when she entered the US National Championships ion Oro Valley, Arizona.

It was here the national team scouts got their first look at McGee.

McGee made the first cut, making the top 60 potential candidates after her figures performance at the competition.

The second phase of competition caused much adversity for McGee.

McGee had to undergo an emergency appendectomy where she missed eight weeks of pool time and competition.

It was a hard time for McGee but she overcame her time away from the pool and was able to send in a video of her required performance since she could not attend the next round of qualification.

Though times looked tough, her performance in the video was strong enough that she made the next phase, being one of 30 swimmers left in competition.

Her latest qualifying performance happened April 5 in Moraga, California.

Here, McGee performed double duty, performing in a qualification trial and a normal competition where she competed in solo, duet, team and combo events.

For the qualification process, McGee had to perform a list of skills, figures and a choreographed routine in a team of other qualifiers to showcase her ability to be a part of a group performance.

McGee passed with flying colors as later that week it was announced that she had made the final 12, becoming the second Aquette in as many years to earn a spot on the team.

The last Aquette to make the junior squad was Anita Alvarez.

Alvarez is the daughter of the Aquette’s coaching director, Karen Alvarez and is now a member of both the junior and senior national team.

Alvarez and McGee are close friends and have helped each other as they both strive towards the same goal.

“Me and Anita re very good friends. I would say best friends,” said McGee. “She has really helped me, being a role model for me. She is really inspirational.”

Alvarez is not the only role model for McGee.

McGee got her start as she followed in her sister’s footsteps.

Her older sister, Alyssa, became an Aquette, giving McGee the drive to try out for herself.

“I got into swimming because my sister started doing it. Once I started I really loved the sport,” said McGee.

Alyssa is four years older than Alexandra.

The next step for McGee is training camp.

McGee must participate in three different camps and then she will compete in the 2015 Pan American Age Group Championships in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The games will take place through July 26.

McGee will leave for her first camp which begins June 22 in Riverside, California.

After a 15 day camp, McGee will then head to Las Vegas, Nevada for a 10 day camp, beginning July 18.

On Aug. 5, McGee will attend her final practice camp in Moraga before the team makes its way to Calgary.

McGee and her coaches hope that her small stature, flexibility and gymnastic skill will make her a strong, important member to the squad.

Both McGee and Alvarez are on the path to possibly making the team that would compete in the 2016 Olympics that will take place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

email: ltrimble@beenews.com

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