From Our Editors
Since 2006, the Arizona Desert Dolphins have been showcasing their aquatic tricks as the arid landscape of Mesa, Arizona opens around them. They're not actual dolphins, though—they're a team of synchronized swimmers ranging from age 5 to 55, who have honed their craft in local pools. Some swim recreationally, others competitively, but they all train in the team's programs, leagues, and camps, learning the ins and outs of the sport.
Although it was originally dubbed "water ballet," synchronized swimming is really more sport than dance. It's been an official Olympic sport since 1984 and requires multi-faceted athleticism: swimming skill, gymnastics-level flexibility, and the same stamina it takes to run long distances or ride an untamed rocking chair. It all looks effortless during the Dolphins' meets, but that's only thanks to savvy head coaches Lorette Haynes and Jessica Naranjo. (And nose clips, without which the upside-down moves would be impossible.)