Island Aquatics Synchro Club, Jamaica’s synchronized swimming team, has been featured in the new visual album from superstar Beyoncé. The album is entitled “Black Is King,” and while few details are known, the expression of thanks to Beyoncé from Aquabatix USA, a professional synchronized swimming team, indicates that the swimmers were part of it. Aquabatix USA gave special thanks to the singer for including Jamaica’s synchro team in the video as well.
Aquabatix USA share a preview clip of the Beyoncé’s visual project on Instagram, and after recognizing the “impressive synchro skills she showcased there, along with their efforts of two of its athletes, the clip’s caption thanked Beyoncé for allowing the Jamaican team to show its talents in the project too: “@beyonce showing off her incredible synchro skills. A couple of @aquabatixusa performers appear in #BlackisKing BUT we want to make this more about the brilliant @jamaicasynchro team that feature and how happy we are Queen Bey recognised their talent and artistry to cast them.”
The Jamaican team, which is based in Kingston and coached by two-time gold medal winner Olga Novokshenova, was the subject of a feature article in the New York Times entitled “Jamaica Has Never Had Olympic Synchronized Swimmers. These Girls Want To Change That.” The challenges faced by the Island Aquatics Synchro club at the time were discussed in the article, which was published on January 29, 2018. According to the club, its greatest obstacle to achieving its Olympic dream was attracting and sustaining new members. The swimmers wanted to qualify for the Duets Category in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
In the Instagram caption posted by Aquabatix USA, the professionals acknowledged this challenge, writing that “Synchronized swimming (now known as artistic swimming), like most of the aquatics worldwide is unfortunately still dominated by white people. For no other reason other than opportunity. If people of the BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) community are not given the same opportunity and access to learn to swim, the less POC (people of color) there are having the opportunity to access grassroots competitive synchronized swimming and then the less POC we see at the Olympics and also in the entertainment and production side of what we do. Also, the less POC then qualify as swimming and aquatics instructors/coaches, and as choreographers in synchro. It is so important to have POC synchro stars as role models to inspire younger generations and for them to say, that will be me one day.” The post went on to say that there is no excuse for a continuing lack of opportunity anymore and that everyone should have the same opportunities and access to learning to swim and have the chance to enjoy and excel in artistic swimming.
Aquabatix USA believes that the athletes of the Jamaican synchro team are “a force to be reckoned with” and are a source of pride for the black community proud with their achievements and resilience. Aquabatix USA noted that the Jamaican team is very competitive and is working very hard to give others the chance to participate in synchro and empowering them with the sport’s benefits. The team is making progress in the competitive rankings in the world and showcasing its skills and artistry on the international level.
Finally, Aquabatix USA posted, “Thank you, Queen Bey, for casting Team Jamaica synchro in Black is King to showcase these brilliant synchro swimmers and we hope many kids will see this and want a go!”
Photo Source: Island Aquatics Synchro Club Facebook