The return of synchronized swimmers to the pool at Wright College on Saturday, June 1 was four years in the making. For decades, synchronized swimmers have gathered at Wright to show off their skills, meet with other swimmers, and celebrate the sport. But like many sports, the program was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, synchronized swimming Head Coach Cathy Goodwin plans to keep the recent momentum going.

The Wright College Aquatic staff’s goal is to grow the swimming program at the college, which feeds into the synchronized swimming program. Currently, students from the ages of 7 through 95 all take a swim course at Wright through the continuing education program. Many of these students have gone on to become Wright College credit students.

Cathy hopes that tradition continues, as she has a long history at Wright herself. She says the college is

Photo courtesy: Cathy Goodwin. Wright College swim club in 1971 with Coach of the Year, Bernice Hayes. Cathy kneels in the front row (second from right).

home. She took her summer swimming classes there, began her own synchronized swimming journey there, attended Wright as a student, and has taught courses at the college.

Wright College also has a significant place in synchronized swimming’s history. Katherine Whitney Curtis, known as the mother of synchronized swimming, was a faculty member at Wright. She introduced the sport in 1934 at the Chicago’s World Fair. Under her guidance, Wright College hosted the United States’ first synchronized swimming competition in 1939, which helped popularize the sport.

Photo courtesy: Cathy Goodwin. Cathy Goodwin and Tom Orlando perform “Hansel and Gretel” in 1971.

Cathy is trying to keep Katherine’s legacy alive through Wright’s synchronized swimming program, known as the SeaStars, as well as attract new fans. The 2024 Summer Olympics marks 40 years of synchronized swimming at the games. It will bring more eyes and interest to the sport which will hopefully lead to more swimmers in Wright’s pool. The college offers basic swimming courses as well as courses for those who want to learn synchronized swimming techniques and routines. Anyone interested in signing up can contact Aquatics Program Manager Magda Szmurlo via email at

“If you can swim, you can try this,” Cathy says. “We’ll teach you everything.”