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Body Confidence and Swimsuit Secrets from the U.S. Synchronized Swimming Team

The women of the U.S. synchronized swimming team -- winners of the World Cup in 2006 -- have a real shot at the Olympic gold this summer in Beijing. FITNESS caught up with them for an exclusive underwater photo shoot in designer swimsuits to find out how they stay strong, focused, and fit.

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Ric Frazier
The 2008 U.S. Olympics Synchronized Swimming Team
Ric Frazier
Ric Frazier
Ric Frazier
Ric Frazier
Ric Frazier
Ric Frazier
Ric Frazier
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Circle of Strength

Every swimmer has her function on the team: stronger swimmers provide support for the routines, smaller ones are tossed into the air, and taller ones provide above-water elegance. "The only way a team can succeed is if everyone is willing to learn from each other," says team member Kim Probst.

Swimsuits, clockwise from top:

  • Cia Maritima Ibiza bikini, top $122, bottom $65
  • OMO Norma Kamali C Mio swimsuit, $295
  • Speedo Retro Floral Technoback 2-piece, $70, www.speedousa.com
  • Manoush Smarties Triangle bikini, $207, www.manoush.com
  • Seven7 Brazilian Summer bikini, top $29, bottom $29, www.sea-swimwear.com
  • Speedo Axcelerate Marilyn halter and Side Tie Bottom bikini, top $44, bottom $44, www.speedousa.com
  • Rosa Cha, price available upon request, www.rosacha.com.br

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Balanced Beauty

"When performing, you want to be tall, and slender and graceful, yet powerful, sharp and strong." --Jillian Penner

Chio di Stefania Silk Dress with Crystals, $800, www.mollybrownsswim.com

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Team Spirit

Spending 10 hours a day together in the pool builds trust, strength, and most important, a closeness that makes competition worth the effort. "The most rewarding part of all of this is being able to share your greatest life moments with your best friends," says Brooke Abel.

Swimsuits from left to right:

  • Red Carter Nouvelle bikini, top $75, bottom $79, available at select Nordstrom stores
  • Vix Swimwear Napoli bikini, $186, www.everythingbutwater.com
  • Jo de Mer Val bikini, $194, Intermix NY

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Self Confidence? Check!

So what's it like to have the entire world checking you out in a swimsuit? Meghan Kinney had this to say: "I remind myself that I am supposed to be a fit and healthy athlete -- not a super-skinny runway model."

Swimsuits from left to right:

  • Speedo Axcelerate Marilyn Halter and Tie Side bottom, top $44, bottom $44, www.speedousa.com
  • L*Space Twister top and Dandy bottom, top $65, bottom $55, www.lspace.com

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Follow the Leader

Most synchronized swimmers have known each other since they were teenagers, a familiarity that adds to their success in the pool. "It takes years to form the chemistry that lets you know how your teammates move and react under the water," says Brooke Abel.

  • Center, Yellow 1-piece: Juicy Couture Halter Swimdress, $164, Select Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Bottom right, Pink/Orange Bottom: Karla Colletto, $276
  • Bottom left, White bikini: OYE swimwear Estella bikini, $330, www.couturecandy.com
  • Center, back: Sauvage Brilliant Shine One Piece, $172, www.sauvagewear.com

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Water Workout

Swimming, lifting, twirling: all in a day's work for these women. Turns out, they have found the secret to a killer workout. "In the end, anything underwater really takes you to a whole new level of exhaustion and burn," says Kim Probst.

Swimsuits from left to right:

  • Speedo Axcelerate Solid Triangle top and Hipster bottom with Geo belt, top $44, bottom $46, www.speedousa.com
  • Vix Swimwear Dazzling top and Ring Flip bottom, $136, www.everythingbutwater.com

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Tough Love

"My favorite quote: 'Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.' If you have fun time through all of your hard work, you create amazing and lasting memories." --Kate Hooven

Swimsuits from left to right:

  • RYGY Sport Stripes bikini, $105, www.rygy.com
  • Salinas Lisos bikini, $110, www.bluefly.com

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Support System

Working out with women of all ages has its benefits, as this team of 18- to 27-year-olds have found out. "The older girls keep the younger girls in line; and I think the younger girls keep the older girls young," says Jillian Penner.

  • Vix Swimwear Dazzling top and Ring Flip bottom bikini, $136, www.everythingbutwater.com
  • Speedo Axcelerate Solid Triangle top and Hipster bottom with Geo Belt bikini, top $44, bottom $44, www.speedousa.com
  • HOPE Gold Petals bikini, top $24, bottom $33

Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, June 2008.

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