Santa Clara Aquamaids is very excited to report that our dedicated athletes from our 11/12, 13/15, and 16/17 Age Group Programs competed at the 2021 Junior Olympic Championship at the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Natatorium in Colorado Springs, Colo. from June 26 to July 3, 2021. These athletes qualified for this prestigious competition at a Regional Competition last month.  Santa Clara’s Junior Olympic roster proudly boasts 52 participants. This signature event marked the peak of the 2021 competition calendar for Santa Clara Aquamaids, but it’s far from the end of the training year for our talented swimmers.

According to the website for USA Artistic Swimming, the Cadet Natatorium is also the home of the 60,000-sqft US Olympic Training Center and the US Olympic & Paralympic Museum. It is also used for scuba and survival training. 2021 marks the first time the USAF Academy Cadet Natatorium hosted the Junior Olympic Championship. Our athletes took special steps to stay fit and have their programs ready at peak efficiency to counteract the challenges of competing at 7,528 feet above sea level.


Santa Clara Aquamaids departed for the Junior Olympics with 24 swimmers entered. We competed with 2 teams, 1 combo, 2 duets, and a solo. At the regionals competition, the 4th place team was entered in a lottery to see if they could win a spot to compete at Junior Olympics. Two new swimmers were added to the team, chosen by lottery for the competition.


Coach Heather Carrasco says, “We have had a challenging year trying to train in a pandemic and starting our routines in April. Not only have we lost pools for training and adaptive, but we have made numerous changes to athletes and choreography in teams and combos…Our athletes have been up for the challenge and are ready to perform their routines for the judges. We have been working so hard the last few weeks to improve our routines from regional, with also adding an additional lottery team to the training…This 13-15 age group has learned to adapt to all conditions of training and I could not be prouder of their dedication and teamwork.”


We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that Santa Clara Aquamaids is primarily supported and funded in their training, equipment, travel, and competition through private donors and supporters and fundraising. The majority of Santa Clara Aquamaids funding comes from Aquamaids Bingo, your local home for exciting bingo action and some of the biggest payouts in the Bay Area! Every time you play, you’re not just signing up for the fun and excitement Aquamaids Bingo has been synonymous with since 1972; you’re also helping support up-and-coming athletes in their journey to become the best in their field and make healthy choices which they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.


We at Santa Clara Aquamaids are thrilled to support our young athletes as they compete in the Junior Olympic Championship among over 1,000 of their peers. Stay tuned for more information and the results from the 2021 Junior Olympic Championship, and be sure to check out Aquamaids Bingo if you’re looking for fun, excitement, and ways to help these elite athletes pursue their dreams!




Santa Clara Aquamaids athletes from ages eleven to sixteen recently returned from the National Junior Olympic Championship in Colorado Springs. The competition took place June 26 – July 3, 2021, at the United States Air Force Academy. At an altitude of 7,258 feet above sea level, the results of this meet “well above” any in recent years.


Due to the hard work and dedication of the coaches and athletes, the club returned home with the highest “medal lode” of any Junior Olympic competitors. Athletes Ayla Barry, Brianna Holmes, and Rachel Holmes truly had the Midas touch, bringing home gold in every event they entered. 


Other noteworthy performances included Walnut Creek’s exciting first place  13/15 free team routine as well as the technically outstanding  11/12 duet from La Mirada Aquabelles. In all, Santa Clara Aquamaids clinched 8 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze medals and brought home a treasure trove of recognition for their athletic prowess and team spirit!


Here’s the complete rundown of medals and results for your hard-working, hard-training Santa Clara Aquamaids for the 2021 National Junior Olympic Championship!


12U Program




Bronze medal for Samantha Chu, 5th place for Melody Song, 6th place for Isabella Bae, 8th place for Jacklyn Li, 10th place for Nira Shakeri.



  • Solo Event: 4th place for Melody Song in Solo.
  • Duet Event: silver medal for Melody Song and Isabella Bae and, bronze medal for Samantha Chu and Jacklyn Li.
  • Team Event: gold medal for Jacklyn Li, Samantha Chu, Isabella Bae, Melody Song, **Nira Shakeri, Yilian Yuan, Ellie Zhou, Yara Lambru. Also got 4th place for Kaileigh Hobbs, Cynthia Liu, Anusha Murarka, Kate Orr, Audrey Primmer, Anna Roos, Alexandra Sokolova-Woodberry, Elaine Xia.


13-15 Program




Gold medal for Ayla Barry, 5th place Krystal Li, 8th place Janneke Dirven.



  • Solo Event: Gold medal for Ayla Barry
  • Duet Event: Gold medal for Ayla Barry and Hannah Ip, bronze medal for Gianna Bonacorso and Lina Zhai.
  • Team Event: Silver medal for Gianna Bonacorso, Janneke Dirven, Ayla Barry, Hannah Ip, Krystal Li, Elizabeth Zakharov, Lina Zhai, Isa Zhai and Hannah Ryou. 4th place for Stella Ang, Scout Bauman, Vanessa Lai, Sophia Tsives, Karen Wang, Abigail Ye, Olivia Zhu, Anya Li.
  • Combo Event: Bronze medal for Stella Ang, Ivana Angelova, Scout Bauman, Vanessa Lai, Amber More, Annelise Robinson, Sophia Tsives, Karen Wang, Nicole Zhmako, Nicole Zuper, Camille Muth and Sarah Hwang.





  • Tech Solo Event: Gold medal for Claire Kim and 10th place for Alessandra Dudson.
  • Tech and Free Duet Event: Gold medal for Rachel and Brianna Holmes. – Tech Team Event: Gold medal for Alissa Cheong, Alessandra Dodson, Brianna Holmes, Rachel Holmes, Claire Kim, Taylor Mccreight, Selina Nakari, Julie Svajda, Katherine Li (R).


The 2021 National Junior Olympic Championship also marked the first time that AWD athletes (Athletes with Disabilities) were included in a national Artistic Swimming competition.  The vision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is to create conditions for athlete empowerment. The Artistic Junior Olympics of 2021 did just that through the inspiration and excitement the AWD athletes manifested. Overall, the 2021 Junior Olympic Championship was truly an Artistic Swimming event to be remembered.


Congratulations to all our Santa Clara Aquamaids athletes!