STILLWATER, NJ - “I’m so excited, honestly,” gushed 17-year-old Carly Buta before the debut of the Paulinskill Lake Synchronized Swimming Show.
She certainly had every right to be. Along with fellow synchronized swimmers Marissa Coombs and Megan Ruffino, both 16, the three choreographed a 30-minute show, consisting of 14 other participants involving music, costumes, kickboards and, of course, swimming.
The three Kittatinny Regional High School students, and their fellow teammates had been practicing since June approximately three times a week, to hone their skills and to perfect their routines.
Mimi Cutler, an assistant to the team, said, “We’ve had time to really work with the girls skills. Every year they grow better!”
Adult choreography supervisor Natalie Gooding added, “I couldn’t ask for better girls to run this program.”
With a Jolly Roger waving on a boat by the dock in the middle of the lake, and a path of pirate booty lining the shore, the crowd of family, friends and lake goers, some dressed in pirate hats and vests, were fully enamored by the show.
To set the tone, the event was kicked off with music straight out of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies as the team, broken in up into five groups, swam out to the dock.
Showing no fear to perform in front of a crowd, the first and youngest group, armed with kickboards and calling themselves the "Cut-throat Crew", did routines to songs, "The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything" and "Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho A Pirates Life For Me".
The "Coral Reef Castaways" followed, teaming up to spin and mock sword fight.
The duo nicknamed the "Swashbuckling Sirens" performed to the song "Captain Kidd", while the "Gangplank Girls" executed their routine to sweeping instrumental music.
The final and oldest group, the "Black Pearls", consisting of Buta, Coombs and Ruffino, started their set with a sword fight on the dock, cutlasses glinting in the sun, each getting knocked into the lake until there was one ultimate winner. Their performance, the longest and the most intricate of them all, was filled with spot on synchronization.
To a whistling and cheering audience, the exuberant finale involved every team member in a fairly complex routine, ending with the shooting of confetti cannons as the team took a well-deserved bow to their adoring fans.
Audience member and grandmother of team member Phoebe Livingston (a "Coral Reef Castaway", and a "Gangplank Girl"), Diane Jones of Stillwater said of the show, “It’s the best one I’ve seen in years. I loved the pirate theme; that was great.”
This show marked over 20 years of tradition of Paulinskill Lake holding a synchronized swimming program, and a yearly show. A real family affair and a fantastic event that brought together the lake community, the party did not end after the show; it was followed by an open mic night and a potluck dinner on the beach.
The 2012 Paulinskill Lake Synchro Show participants included Alexa Babcock, Rachel Burnett, Hazel Buro, Brenna Philson, Mari Robins, Anna Rosenfeld, Laci Rosenfeld, Natasha DeWall, Marissa Kepnes, Emma Kimble, Phoebe Livingston, Ali Schutte, Jenna Kepnes, Katie Ruffino, Carly Buta, Marissa Coombs and Megan Ruffino.