Regular FeaturesPeople/Yonseian
Embroidering Dance on WaterRhee Yoo-jung, a courageous synchronized swimmer
Kim Hee-jin  |
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승인 2008.11.27  18:44:14
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

SHE PROBABLY never knew that she would become a national athlete when she started taking a water ballet class when she was 12. It was her curiosity that brought a new world into her life, and it was her passion that made her continue the journey. This month's star is Rhee Yoo-jung (Soph., Dept. of Sport and Leisure Studies), a synchronized swimmer who has been working industriously towards her goals despite inferior conditions and support. Last April, she ranked fifth at the Beijing Olympics Preliminaries.

Synchronized swimming requires much muscular strength as we constantly move to stay afloat and make various motions in the water. Still, it is not all about swimming. The ability to express oneself with a charisma that overwhelms the spectators is also crucial. Above all, the most challenging part of the sport is to hold one's breath underwater. A few times, I felt dizzy after holding my breath for too long, and once passed out.

Participating in international competitions, I have had many opportunities to go abroad. Many times, I try to become friends with other participants, and I even ask other coaches to teach me some skills. To speak about one memorable episode, I got so nervous a day before one competition that I forgot to pack everything that I needed. I was at the pool with only my swimming suit, which I wear during practices. My game records have been pleasing so far. One panel said that I have great expressive skills compared to other Asian participants, who are usually very shy. Korean coaches also said that I look tall in the water, which lets my actions look bold like those of Western swimmers.

Since synchronized swimming is not so popular in South Korea, there is less support from the government compared to sports like archery, in which athletes are provided with counselors, masseurs, physical therapists, and personal trainers. I wish the same for synchronized swimmers. There is not much financial support from the federations either, so we usually participate in competitions at our own expense. National support is necessary for the development of Korean synchronized swimming. As time passes, many new techniques are developed. It would be helpful if the coaching staff or the members of the Korea Swimming Federation could go abroad and learn various new skills. My current goal as an athlete is to make it into the top 10 at next year's world championship meeting. In the long-run, after studying further in Sports Law, I dream of becoming the chairwoman of the Technical Synchronized Swimming Committee of the Federation International de Natation. This committee decides the sport's rules and directs international competitions. Now that synchronized swimming has become so special and essential in my life, it has made me who I am today. I have great pride as a synchronized swimmer, since I have learned so much through this sport. I have found sociability and confidence in myself.

Recent Award Records
2008 Halla Swimming Competition, Solo, 1st place
2008 Japan Open Cup, Solo, 3rd place
2007 MBC Swimming Competition,
Solo, 1st place, MVP
2007 Japan Open Cup, Solo, 2nd place


  Rhee Yoo-jung (Soph., Dept. of Sport and Leisure Studies), a synchronized swimmer  


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