In the Swim – Design You Trust

In the Swim

The Laguna Woods Village retirement community in Californian has its own synchronised swimming team, called the Aquadettes. It has been running for 46 years, has up to 25 ­members at a time and every year stages an annual 90-minute show, the Aqua-Follies. (Zackary Canepari/Panos)

The Aquadettes have featured in adverts and on breakfast TV in the US. (Zackary Canepari/Panos)

Margo Bouer, 73, who in her late 40s was diagnosed with MS. She says: “I saw the group perform and said, ‘That’s for me!’” (Zackary Canepari/Panos)

“We’re like a family,” says Valerie Andrews Link, the coach and, at 57, baby of the team. “These women are wonderful.” (Zackary Canepari/Panos)

The costume changes are the hardest thing, going from a wet suit to a dry one, and the ­swimmers wear tights under their suits to aid the process. An annual sewing bee is held to furnish the Aquadettes’ wardrobe. (Zackary Canepari/Panos)

“It’s the same as the Olympic sport,” says Valerie Andrews Link. “But we’re 40 pounds heavier, 40 years older, 40 miles an hour slower.” (Zackary Canepari/Panos)

“I always say,” says Andrews Link, “this is Laguna Woods, not Hollywood.” (Zackary Canepari/Panos)

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