Photo originally published Jan. 23, 1970
The $4 million, 220-room Marriott Inn opened in Bloomington with much fanfare. Built near the old Metropolitan Stadium, the hotel had hoped to capture not only the drawing power of Minnesota sporting events, but also the area’s robust electronics industry.
In addition to a couple of restaurants, a lounge, and banquet and meeting facilities, the hotel featured an enclosed, glass-domed swimming pool. And what better way to show it off than a performance by the Kennedy Kips water ballet dancers from nearby Bloomington Kennedy High School?
Now, 50 years later, much has changed about water ballet.
First, it’s no longer water ballet, it’s synchronized swimming. It’s also a sport governed by the Minnesota State High School League and has been part of the Summer Olympics since 1968. The Kennedy Kips are no more; instead it’s the Bloomington Aquettes, a combined synchronized swim team from Bloomington Kennedy and Jefferson high schools.
The sport is popular outside of school, too, with Minnesota having a surprising number of clubs: the Synchronettes, Aquafins, Northern Pike, Northern Formation, Subversive Sirens, St. Paul Stars and a handful of other city and college clubs.
The city of Bloomington has changed, too. There’s the Mall of America instead of the Met, and the Marriott Inn is now the Marriott Minneapolis Airport. The hotel has been updated, but it’s still in the same location with the same glass-domed swimming area. Just no Kips.