Prairie Village to hold public meeting gauging interest in resuscitating synchronized swimming team

Synchronized swimmers performed at the final Prairie Village Water Show in 2012.
Synchronized swimmers performed at the final Prairie Village Water Show in 2012.

The 50-year-old synchronized swimming program could return to Prairie Village but only if the public speaks up – soon.

The city will host an information session at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at city hall to determine if there is enough interest to host a 2015 summer season. The program is open to residents and swimmers throughout the region.

But speaking up at the meeting is critical.

The season was canceled two years in a row after low enrollment and trouble finding a coach for the summer program. Now the parks and recreation committee is left wondering: “Do we continue to try to offer the program or do we put those resources somewhere else,” said Nolan Sunderman, assistant to the Prairie Village city administrator.

But before scratching the beloved program this summer, the city will make another attempt to gauge interest with the informational meeting. The city has gone to great efforts the last several years to continue the synchronized swimming program.

Sunderman said the meeting is open to anyone but especially swimmers, potential coaches and interested members of the public. Those who can’t attend should send him an email or call his office.

He will make a presentation and gauge interest from the crowd. Sunderman plans to report back to the Prairie Village parks and recreation committee.

Those attending the meeting won’t be asked to register that night.

“If we offer the program,” he said, “registration would officially begin April 1.”

The program has been offered to those ages 7 to 18 with a minimum of 25 girls. Fees, which are subject to change for the 2015 season, used to been $100 per resident and $95 for a second child. Non-residents paid $146 without a membership to the Prairie Village pool or $102 with a membership.

The schedule is open to change, Sunderman said, depending on participants and the coach. However, practice has traditionally been offered from 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. twice a week. Beginners met on Monday and Wednesday with advanced classes on Tuesday and Thursday in June and July. The season culminated with a popular water show on the last Sunday in July.

“I think they’ve had a great turnout,” Sunderman said of the annual show.

Former synchronized swimming coach Nancy Morgan told the Prairie Village Post in 2013 that losing the unique water show was a real loss both to the city and to the girls, who displayed a sense of athleticism and grace.

“There is a quality about the evening of the water show that is like a step back in time,” she said. “A glimpse of small town America.”