Aquanuts Kick Up Their Heels On America's Got Talent
The Walnut Creek Aquanuts synchronized swimming club
was recently named one of the Top 60 acts on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” advancing
to New York City’s Radio City Music Hall for live competition.
is still mind-boggling for at least one of the Aquanuts.
has all been really surreal,” said McKinzie
Chelberg, 19. “I moved to California from Minnesota one year ago to join
the Aquanuts, and now I'm performing for Heidi Klum. I actually still pinch myself every day.”
Aquanuts, based in Walnut Creek, Calif., are considered one of the most
prestigious synchronized swimming clubs in the world, having produced numerous
Olympians while winning more than 200 national and world titles since its
creation in 1968. Just this year, the Aquanuts won the senior team title at the
SwimOutlet.com U.S. National Synchronized Swimming Championships in April.
Aquanuts competing on the show are: Morgan
Boneberg, Sofia Bouzos, McKinzie Chelberg, Alyson Haylor, Sarah House, Jamie Kuchan, Suying Rothrock and Alexa
Tchekmarev. Boneberg, Chelberg, Kuchan and Tchekmarev also competed as part
of a U.S. National Team that won the silver medal at the U.S. Open in Irving,
Texas, earlier this month.
Creek auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” in New Orleans, which proved to be
a whirlwind, according to Haylor.
to reconstruct our routine to fit within the 90-second time constraint and
travel with all our underwater music equipment just in case it didn’t synch
with the ‘America’s Got Talent’ equipment,” said Haylor. “We arrived at the
pool at 9 a.m. and finished our audition and returned back to the hotel with
only about two hours for the girls to shower and get on a shuttle back to the
airport early the next morning. But the thrill of performing for the judges
with all the lights and people was incredible, and of course meeting (host) Nick Cannon was awesome, too.”
our performance in New Orleans the judges told us they thought synchronized
swimming would be a very special addition to ‘America's Got Talent,’” said
Aquanuts coach Kim Probst, a 2008 Olympic captain who has been named USA Synchro’s Coach
of the Year several times. “They loved the performance and they think
America will, too. Now we have to keep training and waiting for our next
opportunity to show America what we can do.”
team impressed judges Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern by competing in high heels.
where did the high heels come from?
“In the ’90s
our rival club put on a huge swim show, and one of the numbers was dedicated to
the Spice Girls because they were hugely popular then,” Probst said. “The girls
were swimming in platforms and neon tennis shoes and completely outrageous
costumes. So I guess you can say the original inspiration came from Mel B!”
“Our specific routine is all heels (no tennis shoes!). For our audition we used
music from the movie ‘Burlesque,’ but we'll need to take it to the next level
to continue to move on. Everything will need to be 10 times more glamorous than
we've ever imagined. That’s what we’re working on now!”
live competition from New York starts Tuesday, July 23, at 9/8c on NBC. For
more information on “America’s Got Talent,” visit www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent.