We had the good fortune of connecting with Ella Reintsma and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ella, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
5280 Synchro is an artistic swimming club (formerly known as synchronized swimming). I think one thing that most people are unaware of is that artistic swimmers are never allowed to touch the bottom or sides of the pool while they are competing. It takes an incredible amount of effort to perform while only relying on your own body for propulsion and support, all while smiling and making it look effortless.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Our industry is a little tricky to classify because it’s a combination of things: while it is primarily a sport, artistic swimming is also an art form. I think that’s part of what makes it truly special & unique.
This season, I am most excited to see all of our new swimmers joining the team. Artistic (also known as synchronized) swimming is such a small sport, that it’s been exciting to see the benefit of media. News coverage of the Olympics & social media posts have really helped spread awareness to those who may not have heard about it otherwise. It is such a tight-knit, life-long friends kind of community, that it truly does excite me to see more new kiddos trying it than ever. These kids might meet their best friends at the pool. They might have just found their new favorite passion. Artistic swimming truly changed my life and shaped who I am as a person- it taught me commitment, team-work, creative expression, confidence… seeing new children try it and love it brings me such immense joy because maybe we’ve just helped them find the place where they belong. It’s such a blessing to get to be apart of that journey.
Professionally speaking, I am relatively new to the coaching world, and definitely to being a Head Coach. I am only 21 now, I started training to be a Head Coach when I was 20. Prior to that, I was a swimmer myself for over 10 years- starting out on the recreational level, then gradually getting more competitive attending events like Junior Olympics, US Nationals, and most significantly the opportunity to compete at US National Team Trials. After I stopped swimming myslef I couldn’t seem to get away however, something about this sport always draws you back in. It’s been great to be able to coach now, I think I’m a better coach than I ever was a swimmer. Becoming Head Coach is certainly a big change- not only are you shaping future generations in & out of the pool, you are now also in a leadership role where you have to learn how to manage schedules, other people, and handle more difficult situations that used to be passed up the ladder. It’s a lot of pressure, but also super rewarding. I honestly never would have guessed my favorite sport as a kid would have led me to the opportunity for a career in leadership, but I’m very grateful for that pipeline. It’s been an honor to give back to the sport that gave me everything.
I think one thing that I hope to instill in future generations that maybe was lacking when I was an athlete is the importance of taking care of your whole being in sports. As I like to say I care about my swimmers as whole individuals, not just athletes. As society as a whole, open conversations on mental health are still pretty new. Of course, basic things like “eat healthy” and “take care of yourself” were pushed when I was swimming, but important conversations on how to deal with pressure or competition stress weren’t addressed enough. I had some coaches growing up that had some really unhealthy language or practices instilled into their coaching style- I don’t believe they had any malicious intent with the words they’d use to motivate us, I honestly think they were just raised with the same style as the coaches before them and adopted it. My goal as a coach is to prove you can still be good at your sport while also not being miserable. You can still push athletes to their limits, while at the same time also make it a safe space for them to open up to you about their concerns or struggles. Especially in a sport dominated by women, body image is a huge issue where athletes later struggle. I think we as coaches have a responsibility to do better. Not just in a results or innovation standpoint. But by our athletes. I think there needs to be a huge culture shift in sports on how we can better address and support our athlete’s struggles.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ooh! That’s a great question. If it’s their first time, definitely a city staple like a Rockies game, Elitch’s, or a quick trip up to Red Rocks. The Molly Brown Palace Afternoon Tea is definitely an experience worth trying at least once in your life, especially if you’ve ever wanted to feel like a member of the royal family. But I’d also show them some of my favorite ‘hidden gems’ of establishments- Fort Greene down in RiNo, Death & Co cocktail bar in Uptown, or any show at Cervantes. Great vibes.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to give a shout out to my mentor, Becky Meitin. Once my own coach in my own swimming career, she has helped me get comfortable in the position as a Head Coach and shown me what it takes to truly lead. It’s a lot tougher than it looks, managing large groups of athletes, other coaches, and parents. Navigating that at such a young age has been difficult, and I definitely could not have done it without her wisdom and advice.