Heights High swim cadets present hybrid show

The 2020–21 Heights High School Swim Cadets (left to right, from front row): Lucia Mitchell, Serenity Parker, Ruby Blackman; Sophia Marotta, Anna Turner, Lily Fawcett-Dubow, Harper Walker, Rachel O’Keeffe;  Sophia Forniti, Ella Herr, Polly Routh, Clara Lyford, Ruby Tugeau; Zoe Burns, Clarissa Gorjanc, Estelle Covault, Arden Lindberg.

The 2020–21 Cleveland Heights High School Swim Cadets, a 17-member synchronized swim club, will present its annual show May 6–8, 7 p.m., at the Heights High pool, 13263 Cedar Road. The theme of this year’s show is Swim Cadets Undercover.

The club, led by determined young women who sacrificed many of their high school traditions during this pandemic year, did everything in their power to persuade the administration that the show “must go on.” 

To follow COVID safety protocols, and because seating is limited to maintain social distancing, only family members of the performers will be allowed to attend in person. Family members must purchase tickets directly from their cadet prior to the performance dates. Attendees must enter through the school’s west entrance for a brief health screening, and must wear a proper face mask to be admitted.

Other community members and students are welcome to view the show, for free, via YouTube livestream on Friday, May 7. Viewers watching from home are encouraged to make an online donation. Details on how to do so will be posted on the group’s Facebook and Instagram pages. A recording of the show will be available at a later date on the school district's website, www.chuh.org.

High school synchronized swim teams are a rarity, and this group has special significance as the oldest extracurricular club at Heights High, with 82 years in existence. Because of its strong tradition, and emphasis on female empowerment, the club remains popular with multi-generational alumnae.

The students are responsible for all creative aspects of the show, including choreography, music, theater lighting, and costuming, as well as for recruiting "guy cadets" to perform during costume changes. The club fundraises regularly in order to present a high-level and entertaining production, full of athleticism, grace and teamwork. The annual performance is the result of five months of 12- to 15-hour practices. Julianna Clark, an alumna cadet (2011–15), is the swim cadet advisor.

Sophia Forniti and Anna Turner, both seniors, lead the club as co-presidents. Both have attended district schools since kindergarten. They met and became friends in fourth grade. 

"Being a swim cadet has been the highlight of my time at Heights," said Forniti, who has been a cadet since her freshmen year. "This club has allowed me to grow and become the best version of myself. I’m forever grateful that I got to spend nearly every day with this amazing group of hardworking girls. I’m endlessly proud of, and thankful for, each and every member of the team."

Anna Turner, also a member since ninth grade, added, "This year was a challenge, but the other officers and I have done all we could to make this year as fun and normal as possible! I love this club with all my heart, and I am so thankful to everyone who has been a part of it. Coming to practice each day with team members is the best part of my week, and I will miss it dearly."

The other swim cadets  are seniors Arden Lindberg (treasurer) and Zoe Burns (secretary); juniors Ella Herr (sergeant at arms), Lily Fawcett-Dubow, Sophia Marotta, Estelle Covault, and Serenity Parker; sophomores Ruby Blackman, Rachel O’Keeffe, and Clarissa Gorjanc; and freshmen Polly Routh, Lucia Mitchell, Clara Lyford, Harper Walker, and Ruby Tugeau.

[Editor's note: The online version of this article has been updated to note that the livestream of the show will take place on Friday, May 7, only.]

Andrea C. Turner

Andrea C. Turner is the owner of ACT One Communications, LLC, and the mother of swim cadet Anna Turner.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:53 AM, 04.30.2021