When the Subversive Sirens took up synchronized swimming just two years ago, with the goal of competing at this week’s Gay Games, what they lacked in experience they made up for with grit and enthusiasm. Their newfound sport, they quickly discovered, wasn’t as easy as dancing underwater — it was more like dancing underwater while trying not to drown.
But by last fall, founding Sirens Signe Harriday and Suzy Messerole had recruited three more “synchro” novices — Nicki McCracken, Zoe Hollomon, and Tana Hargest — to join their team and created a Prince-medley routine to perform at the Olympic-like international sporting event in Paris.
The Sirens’ kicked off Tuesday’s team performance with a kiss as Prince’s voice called out, “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today … ” and finished by blowing bisous to the crowd.
The routine brought them rousing applause and a trip to the top of the podium, plus five gold medals around their necks.
By competing at the Gay Games, the group — which is majority queer and women of color — wanted to bring more diversity and inclusion to the sport. Following their win, they expressed gratitude to their mentors, a Minnesota masters’ synchro group called the Northern Pikes, and posted videos of their winning routine and medal presentation on their Facebook page with the message: “This gold is for all our fans and supporters, our communities in MN and beyond facing discrimination and barriers to being truly free.”