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Natalia the artistic swimmer

After years of cheering on the sideline, she is now becoming one with the water

She had stayed in the background, outside of the piscine, cheering for her daughter for nearly 12 years. But one day Natalia Andronova got convinced to take a deep dive herself, into the demanding but yet magically wonderful world of artistic swimming.

It was not until her daughter moved overseas to go to university in London that Natalia Andronova started swimming herself. The passion had always been there though, while coaching and cheering for her daughter for nearly 12 years and making all the beautiful costumes for her performances.

“I knew it was a demanding sport, but when I started practicing it for real I realized exactly how tough it is. Swimming synchronized together with others to the beat of music may sound simple, but I promise it is not. I have the deepest respect for all young girls who do this so brilliantly already at a young age,” tells Natalia.

As her daughter left she convinced Natalia to join Baileys Ladies – an artistic swimming team in the city of Stockholm in Sweden, consisting of a group of about six fierce ladies. All of them are, as Natalia, mothers to girls who swim.

“We have so much fun. Many of us were already spending so much time in the swimming arena coaching our girls, but now we get one more dimension out of it.”

As an artistic swimmer you need to be able to do everything that a swimmer does. But there is more.

“You need to be good at performing both above and under the surface and be able to hold your breath for a long time while being upside down. There are so many angles you must control and most important of all – it needs to look pretty.”

In Sweden it’s not a big sport, Natalia says that the best teams in the world comes from countries such as Russia, Spain and China. And she cannot avoid joking about her roots:

“It’s a bit embarrassing having a Russian name and not being better at this than I am.”

But although it’s not that many years since she took up her own swimming, Natalia and her team mates have already been competing in the World Masters and European Masters Championships.

“It is extremely fun. You meet so many legends – professionals, judges and coaches that I had only seen on TV before,” says Natalia.

She is also a judge herself sometimes, and describes it as a world of science.

“For example you review the execution part, the level of difficulty and the artistic impression, says Natalia. “When I see teams that are really good at performing it makes me shiver. It’s such a powerful and beautiful sport, and there are not many injuries which is great.”

When Natalia and her team nails a session they get extremely happy. Joy is something that is always present in the team and the training sessions are filled with laughter.

“We come from so many different backgrounds, but this is our joint moment when we get together to swim synchronized. We are a family in this. The younger girls inspire us a lot and we learn from them. It’s about becoming one with the water and having fun while you’re at it.”

When she is not in the piscine or just outside of it, Natalia works as a Material Specialist for Critical Care equipment such as anesthesia machines and mechanical ventilators.

“I am proud to work at Getinge with products that makes a real difference. Even if I am just contributing with a little, little part – I still feel that I help the world to breathe.”

The passion for artistic swimming is something Natalia will always share with her daughter. On the day of Natalia’s very first competition her daughter posted a message on her Facebook wall:

Today my beloved mother is doing her first competition. She has been supporting my passion for synchronized swimming during my entire life and now I get to support her. I am so proud of her.

“Suddenly it was reversed roles, it felt huge and her heartwarming message made me cry out of happiness.”