Jazz benefit tonight for synchronized swim team
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Members of the Olympic Tsunami Swim Team practice at Mountain View Pool Wednesday in Port Townsend.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A benefit concert tonight will help a local synchronized-swim team raise money for a trip to a national competition later this month.

Jazz musician Rickey Kelly will perform at The Upstage Restaurant and Bistro, 923 Washington St., on behalf of the Olympic Tsunami Swim Team, which qualified for the national championships at a regional competition in Kirkland this spring.

The benefit concert will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and costs $10 per person.

The team needs to raise a total of $8,000 to travel to the U.S. Age Group Synchronized Swimming Championships, held June 22-30 in Oxford, Ohio, where the team will compete June 27, according to coach Rowen Matkins.

About $2,000 already has been raised, she said, and she expects the team to make its goal since an anonymous donor has promised to match any funds raised.

The team, which consists of six girls from age 13 to 15, trains six days a week at the Mountain View Pool at 1919 Blaine St.

The program is not affiliated with the Port Townsend public school system, though all the swimmers are members of the high school swim team, Matkins said.

Matkins, who competed as a synchronized swimmer when she was younger, said it is a physically demanding sport that requires a tremendous amount of practice.

The routines go on for four minutes and are coordinated by counting.

A swimmer associates each count with an action, and each swimmer responds according to the numbers.

“It is a real challenge,” Matkins said.

“There is no other sport where you depend so much on your teammates and where you need to be in complete sync, mentally and physically, with what they are doing,” she added.

Two of Matkins' daughters — Keira Matkins, 14, and Tanner Matthew, 15 — are on the team.

“People who have been doing this have the best work ethic,” Kiera said.

“They learn teamwork.

“The purpose is to do something hard and make it look easy,” she added.

Tanner said synchronized swimming requires a variety of skills.

“You need to have the flexibility of a gymnast, the grace of a dancer and the strength of a wrestler,” she said.

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Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 13. 2012 5:58PM
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