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Illustrated chapter book introduces synchronized swimming and teaches value of perseverance and friendship (benefits USA Synchro)
We did it!  You can now order copies  (all proceeds benefit USA Synchro).  Just click the pink button below or copy this URL:  https://www.teamusa.org/~/link.aspx?_id=615F4CD2BAB8413E80C4BE02C9553E28&_z=z
We did it!  You can now order copies  (all proceeds benefit USA Synchro).  Just click the pink button below or copy this URL:  https://www.teamusa.org/~/link.aspx?_id=615F4CD2BAB8413E80C4BE02C9553E28&_z=z
73 backers pledged $3,515 to help bring this project to life.

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"Synchro Sisters Forever" -- Empower Girls Through Sports

$3,515

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NOTE: Though the initial goal is met and my book WILL be published (THANK YOU BACKERS!) I would love to raise additional funds to make the book even better with more illustrations and color photos of real life synchronized swimmers which would make the book more appealing for the young audience -- see UPDATE #1 for more information

"Synchronized Swimming has made me a more confident, hardworking, team-oriented, and healthy person. Because of the vital life skills I have gained through this incredible sport, I know that I will be more successful at whatever else I decide to pursue over the course of my life. My dream is to share this positive impact with girls everywhere." --Katie Reveno (author)

 

Katie Reveno, author
Katie Reveno, author

What is Synchronized Swimming? Synchronized swimming is a female-dominated Olympic sport combining elements of swimming, gymnastics, and dance. It is very challenging because all movements are self-propelled and swimmers are never allowed to touch the bottom or sides of the pool. It requires strength, stamina, lung capacity, grace and artistry.  

author at age 7
author at age 7

Why a chapter book about Synchronized Swimming? As a synchronized swimmer for eight years and a member of the USA Synchro National Team, I have experienced firsthand the life-changing benefits synchronized swimming offers girls and women, including those that may opt out of more traditional sports. Despite its dramatic positive impact on the lives of so many female athletes, the sport's lack of awareness in the United States poses a major threat to its future in our country. I began this project to fulfill my vision of making as many young girls as possible aware of this creative and athletic sport which is routinely called "the ultimate team sport".  I believe that my chapter book, geared towards girls ages five to eight, is the perfect way to introduce children to this uniquely empowering sport in a fun and age appropriate way while learning lessons about friendship and perseverance.

How does Synchronized Swimming empower young athletes and promote important life skills? My desire to share and spread this sport stems from my realization that synchronized swimming has made me a better person. It has taught me the values of hard work and persevering through obstacles, values that have enabled me to succeed in many other areas of life. Synchro teaches these values uniquely well because, due to the precision in both technique and timing, the sport requires a more intense and consistent training regimen than almost any other endeavor imaginable. These skills of perseverance and hard work provide girls with the foundation to do well in school and to make positive contributions throughout their adult lives.

Because synchronized swimmers compete in teams of eight, athletes also learn the extreme importance of teamwork and leadership. The common phrase "the team is only as strong as its weakest member" could have been written about synchro. For example, when one person is early or late in a movement or slightly out of position the entire team is heavily impacted. This gives athletes a deep sense of responsibility to consistently try their best and instills in them an intense trust in their teammates. Since nine out of ten jobs today require teamwork skills, synchronized swimmers' enter the workforce extremely well-prepared with the people skills necessary for life.

Synchronized swimming is one of the only female-dominated sports in the Olympics. Thus, these athletes are able to thrive in an environment where they are never overshadowed by their male counterparts. In almost all other sports the boys teams often end up receiving the bulk of attention and even funding. To witness this phenomenon in action, look no further than high school sports games where the stands often are overflowing at the boys' games but barely half-full when the girls take the floor. Insidiously, this situation can result in girls feeling inferior, which can hinder them in sports and later in life. Synchronized swimmers grow up with a sense of "girl power" in the midst of strong female role models and coaches. 

How does Synchro support the goal of lifelong fitness? This fiercely athletic sport also promotes a positive lifestyle focused on exercise and lifelong fitness. Athletes can begin participating in synchro at almost any age, whether joining a novice team at age five or a beginner masters team at age eighty. The ability to learn the sport at any age and continue enjoying it through all of life's stages helps girls and women lead active lives, enjoy the positive self esteem gained through athletic participation, and stay connected to others in the community,

How is this project unique? This book is the first of its kind and has thus been able to secure marketing and distribution support via USA Synchro, the sport's governing body. It has also met with extreme enthusiasm from every corner of the synchronized swimming community nationwide since it addresses the need to build awareness in a fun, creative and refreshing way. Currently, only a few books about synchronized swimming even exist, and none are geared towards my intended target audience (ages five to eight). This distinction is important because this is the age range during which most children are very open to exploring new sports and activities. In addition, children start solidifying many of their habits and values during this period, so it is the perfect time for them to become involved in this character-shaping sport.

West Zone duet competition
West Zone duet competition

How will Synchro Sisters Forever be distributed? In addition to the typical self-publishing distribution channels, Synchro Sisters Forever will be promoted via USA Synchro (the sport's governing body) and via synchronized swimming clubs and organizations across the country. Marketing efforts can leverage USA Synchro's website, newsletters, event programs, event booths, email database and other vehicles at no charge. Clubs are enthusiastic about distributing the book locally through their communication vehicles such as social media. Key marketing periods will include back to school, winter holidays, and the Summer Olympics.   

How will book proceeds be used? All book profits not invested in reprinting and postage will be donated to USA Synchro to help fund further efforts to grow the sport. 

How will the story appeal to the audience and promote life skills? The plot centers around three best friends who together discover the unique sport of synchronized swimming. The synopsis on the back cover reads: 

Chloe is a ballerina. Sophia loves gymnastics. Jenna is on the swim team. However, what these three best friends love most of all is playing together at their local pool. One day they discover a unique sport that combines all of their passions -- synchronized swimming! But when novice team tryouts don't go quite as planned, at least one girl is left wondering if they will ever really become "synchro sisters forever".

At roughly eighty pages, this fun story teaches the values of friendship and perseverance through the characters' experiences and examples. Charming professionally rendered illustrations help bring this story to life for young audiences. The text has been reviewed by educators to ensure appropriate themes, language and vocabulary for early readers and that pre-readers will be able to listen to the story while enjoying the beautiful pictures sprinkled throughout the text.

Getting ready for competition
Getting ready for competition

How does the book encourage readers to start synchronized swimming themselves? The book includes a section with a link to USA Synchro and a directory of clubs all around the US. In addition, there is a brief, fun glossary of simple synchro moves complete with instructions, so that readers can try elements of the sport in real life. Seven mini-biographies of actual teenaged synchronized swimmers (complete with "fun facts") help to connect the sport to real life while providing the girls with aspirational role models. Lastly, a preface written by a famous member of USA synchro serves to reinforce the connection to real life as well as present parents with compelling reasons to support their child's interest in trying synchro.  

"Barracuda" compulsory figure (skill)
"Barracuda" compulsory figure (skill)

Together these "bonus" sections will encourage many readers to try synchronized swimming themselves and ultimately experience the myriad life-changing benefits the sport has to offer. Those that do not decide to pursue the sport will surely still benefit from the various life lessons and positive role modeling throughout the story. 

Below are a few of the finished illustrations. So far there are 10 in total.  If this campaign raises more than the minimum stated goal I will be able to add more illustrations!  I hope to have at least 20 illustrations in the 80 page book.  

 

 

 

 

Thank you so much for helping fund this project. Getting this book printed and into the hands of young readers whose lives could be changed by synchro is a dream come true.  xo, Katie 

 

author at age 4
author at age 4

 

 

Risks and challenges

The book is completed in terms of the writing, editing, and front and back covers. We have ten of the twenty illustrations finished and are currently working on making the final touches on the bonus sections.

USA Synchro is enthusiastically supporting this project and has given us feedback, assistance, photos, and pledged marketing support via the many vehicles at their disposal such as website, newsletters, events, etc.

In order to have the book designed so it is print ready and print the first batch of a few hundred copies, we need your help! $2,500 will cover this. If we can raise more than that I would love to add more illustrations throughout and color photos of real life synchro swimmers. This is important to engage young readers. If I were to raise even more than that I would add color to the interior illustrations!

Thank you for your interest and I hope you will support my project! Please share this campaign with family, friends, teammates, coaches, former swimmers/parents, etc. Every dollar brings us closer to raising awareness of the special sport of synchronized swimming, empowering our girls, and promoting lifelong fitness!

xo, Katie

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- (15 days)