If you’ve never been to Synchroswim, consider making this the year you (figuratively) dive in. The Washington Project for the Arts’ exuberantly strange synchronized swimming competition features four teams, all of which have devised highly conceptual, prop-intensive performances. Creativity is a must, but actual swimming is not required, says program director Samantha May. Competitors “can just stand or cling to the wall or a float,” she says.
Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I St. NW; Sun., 5 p.m., free.
Fluid Movement: ‘The Star-Spangled Swimmer’
Team: Nine members of the Baltimore synchronized swimming team known for kitschy summer extravaganzas.
The concept: A swinging tribute to Mary Pickersgill, who sewed the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the national anthem. The woman portraying Pickersgill will be backed by mixed-gender crew of seamstresses/seamsters, says team captain Rick Wilson (above right, with mustache). “Fluid Movement has a lot of male swimmers. We accept everyone. If you want to wear a turban and put on nail polish, that’s wonderful,” he says.
Costumes: Red retro swimsuits for the women, fetching blue briefs for the men, and sequins all around.
Standout prop: Giant sewing needles, made out of pool cues.
DC Synchromasters: ‘That’s Entertainment’
Team: An all-ages synchronized swim team that competes internationally. “Our youngest members are 25, and our oldest is in her 70s,” says team captain Susan Horab.
The concept: Esther Williams-style glamour, with six women forming intricate patterns using their shapely gams.
Costumes: Black, pink and silver bathing suits with matching headpieces. “We put our hair up in buns and keep them from falling out with Knox unflavored gelatin,” Horab says.
Standout prop: Hot-pink stilettos. “They aren’t that hard to swim in, but walking on the pool deck can be treacherous,” Horab says.
The Docents: ‘The Way Things Go’
Team: Ten staff members of Glenstone, a modern art museum in Potomac, Md.
The concept: An aqueous Rube Goldberg device, inspired by the 1988 post-modern film “The Way Things Go.”
Costumes: “We believe in equality, that everyone is an artist, so everybody will be coming up with their own costume,” says team captain Elsabe Dixon. One member, a building engineer, plans to swim in a three-piece suit.
Standout prop: A table and chairs, submerged.
Team: Seven people, not all of whom are great swimmers, says team captain Erika Kim Milenkovic, above. “But we do have a fire eater and some artists,” she says.
The Concept: The elements will fight pollution to the soundtrack of the “Captain Planet” theme song.
Costumes: Milenkovic, who will play Pollution, is building a costume out of found objects that will “spread impressively out over the water,” she says.
Standout prop: A monofin, worn by the woman playing Water. “She has been dabbling in mermaiding and apparently there’s some kind of mermaiding community,” Milenkovic says.
More entertainment coverage from Express: