Alice in Waterland, the Aquamaid Story
By Larry Sacks
The Santa Clara Aquamaids continued a Memorial Day tradition by hosting a free open house and performance entitled “Alice in Waterland” on Monday, May 30 at the Santa Clara International Swim Center. Alice in Waterland was the Aquamaids' take on Lewis Carroll’s classic tale “Alice in Wonderland.”
Waterland tells the story of how someone interested in becoming an Aquamaid becomes one. The story takes place on an island ruled by a Queen, played by Chris Carver, the head coach and swim program director for the Santa Clara Aquamaids. Just like Carver, the Queen over the years has helped train many Aquamaids who have gone on to win at the Olympics. The basic rule of the Aquamaids is to always be on time. “What happens if someone is late?” asked the Mad Hatter. The Queen’s answer, “Off with their goggles!”
Just like in Wonderland, there’s a cat that seems obsessed with taking selfies and seeing how many likes she can get. The Mad Hatter enters the scene and, in typical Mad Hatter fashion, isn’t quite as serene and calm as everyone else.
The action moves from the stage to the water as all the different age groups of performers show off their skills in the pool. Current and former members of the Aquamaids put on a performance that was appreciated by the nearly standing room crowd. Guest performers from Cirque du Soleil’s “O” and members of the US National Team helped make the show even more special and demonstrated how the Aquamaids program is really an extended family for its members.
During the course of the show, the Aquamaids took time to poke fun at themselves by making jokes about their bingo games. Running a program like the Aquamaids takes not only a lot of cooperation, teamwork and hard work, but also a lot of money. Parents of members of the Aquamaids help out by volunteering one night a week at the Aquamaids Bingo Hall (1600 Martin Avenue, Santa Clara) on Tuesday through Friday evenings.
Another reason for the performance was to introduce young swimmers who might be interested in the program. After the show ended, swimmers aged five to eleven were given the opportunity to get in the water and try some basic synchronized swimming techniques. The chance to see what it’s like is one of the ways the Aquamaids program continues to grow.