Student Anaya Kashikar ’21 Competes in the Junior Olympics

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  • Anaya Kashikar forms a pattern at Junior Olympics with her team. Kashikar has competed in the last six Junior Olympics. “[It’s] really important in synchro [to] keep your patterns tight,” said Kashikar.

  • Anaya Kashikar ’21 and her team prepare to dive into the pool at Junior Olympics. Before the music started, the Austin Angelfish performed a set of movements on the deck. “Our theme was flowers, so we are a flower and that is reflected in our suits,” Kashikar said.

  • Anaya Kashikar ’21 executes a lift at Junior Olympics. As she emerged from the water, seven other swimmers supported her. “We just had a really difficult high bridge, which is a set of choreographed leg movements,” Kashikar said.

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Over the summer, Anaya Kashikar ‘21 competed with her team, the Austin Angelfish, at the Junior Olympics in synchronized swimming. This year will mark her sixth year at the Junior Olympics and seventh year on the Austin Angelfish. She first got her start in the sport in the third grade when her friend introduced her to it.

“I really liked it; I’d been doing gymnastics before and I love swimming, and so I thought it was the perfect combination,” Kashikar said. “Now I don’t do gymnastics, I just do synchronized swimming.”

Just like any other high performance sport, synchronized swimming requires an incredible amount of exercise. Each practice starts with land exercises and stretching. There are different categories that swimmers choose from, Kashikar’s a member of the team category.

“We practice three to four times a week, for three hours each practice,” Kashikar said. “[After we stretch] we get in the water and do basic laps like normal swimmers do. Then we get started on our routines.”

Junior Olympics is every year during the summer months and moves to different cities each year. Once fall begins, Kashikar starts training for Junior Olympics in the fall when she and her team first choreograph their routines. Sometimes the Austin Angelfish choreograph their own routines and other times the team hires a specialist to choreograph the routines for them. The Austin Angelfish continue practicing these routines until towards the end of winter, in January or February when they compete at their first meet of the year.

“We have a meet called invitationals, [it is between] us and San Antonio,” Kashikar said. “Technically it’s a practice meet if we qualify, which we always do, since it’s top three and there’s only two teams [then] we go to Associations.”

Associations encompasses all of Texas. The top three from Associations then qualify for Junior Olympics. This year the Junior Olympics was held in Buffalo, New York. Over her years of competing, Kashikar has traveled all over the country as Junior Olympics changes locations each year.

“I’ve been going to Junior Olympics since my second year [on the team],” Kashikar said. “I’ve been to California, North Carolina, and Seattle.”

Over the six years she’s been competing, Kashikar has experienced many memorable moments, one of which occurred during the 2018 Junior Olympics finals. Kashikar and her team were going into a lift position, similar to what cheerleaders do, but in the water.

“We lift[ed] a person and she jumped and it was a really bad accident where she hit the person coming down,” Kashikar said. “If you stop a routine or you touch the wall you get disqualified, and so we all had that trust in each other that we would keep going and push through.”

But not every part of her time at Junior Olympics was as intense. When traveling to different states Kashikar and her team are able to do some sight seeing. This summer she crossed over into Canada and visited Niagara Falls.

“I love traveling and traveling with my team is really fun and exciting,” Kashikar said. “We walked over the Rainbow Bridge, [and] then we did typical sightseeing things like [the] Maid of the Mist.”

As for the future, Kashikar has no plans for quitting synchronized swimming. She plans to continue participating in synchronized swimming for the rest of high school and into college. Kashikar isn’t only interested in competing though, she’s also interested in coaching. So no matter what may lie in her future, Kashikar knows it will involve synchronized swimming.