Walnut Creek Aquanuts Set For Next Round Of Americas Got Talent

By Dax Lowery | July 28, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)
NEW YORK - From their New Orleans auditions to the bright lights of Las Vegas to New York City, the Walnut Creek Aquanuts have continually impressed the celebrity judges of "America's Got Talent."

Now the swimmers are ready to make another splash.

One of the nation’s most prestigious synchronized swimming clubs will perform Tuesday, July 30, in the hopes of ‘wowing’ viewers and advancing to the next round of the show. “America’s Got Talent,” live from Radio City Music Hall, airs at 9/8c Tuesday on NBC, with the results show set for Wednesday at 9/8c.

The Aquanuts competing on the show are: Morgan Boneberg, Sofia Bouzos, McKinzie Chelberg, Alyson Haylor, Sarah House, Jamie Kuchan, Suying Rothrock and Alexa Tchekmarev. Boneberg, Chelberg, Kuchan and Tchekmarev also competed as part of a U.S. National Team that won the silver medal at the U.S. Open in Irving, Texas, earlier this month.

“(Getting to New York) was a huge step and a huge accomplishment in this competition,” said team captain Alyson Haylor. “Now that we’re in New York, it’s kind of surreal that we’re going to perform for live television in front of 15 million-plus people … it’s crazy.”

The team, based in Walnut Creek, Calif., and coached by 2008 Olympian Kim Probst, has been working on a new routine that the swimmers and coaches hope will be a performance to remember.

“It’s a brand-new routine just for ‘America’s Got Talent,’” Probst said. “It’s hard to try and find a mix – we’re trying to capture both the beauty and the athletic side. You only get 90 seconds so we also want to pack in as much as we can.”

Added Haylor: “It is a very quick routine, but we’re trying to throw all of our tricks and things we do best into 90 seconds. We don’t really breathe a lot in the routine, which is fine because we’re trying to cram a lot in there, trick after trick after trick to keep the judges and the audience and all of America on the edge of their seats.”

The Aquanuts have been training every day this past week in New York, working out at two rooftop pools and in Central Park.

“We all look at the skyline … New York is just building after building," Haylor said. "We practice at the Holiday Inn pool about every other day, and it’s great because we practice when the sun is going down, so we get to see the sunset. We’re very focused, but at the same time it’s kind of hard to ignore all the buildings and the whole city."

Haylor and teammate Sofia Bouzos also got a chance to walk the red carpet (behind judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern) before last Wednesday’s show.

“That was a fun experience," Haylor said. "You just take a picture for one person, move an inch over, take a picture for another person, move an inch over. So you’re moving inch by inch down this 30-foot carpet just taking pictures – and then there were interviews at the end. It was something that we never thought that we would get to do in our lives.”

Probst said team members have been encouraged and inspired by messages received from fans and fellow synchro swimmers.

“It really feels like everybody in synchro is rallying behind us,” she said. “I think every time the girls are having a rough practice we just read them a couple of those and then they feel like, ‘OK, we can do this.’ So that’s been so nice and so encouraging. You would think that all of USA Synchro is on the same club or something.”

And now it all comes down to Tuesday night.

“We’re so fortunate and we’re so excited to be able to have this opportunity to show off our sport and really just entertain people – give them a great show,” Haylor said. “We want to leave them wanting more. We want to leave them in complete shock and say, ‘Wow, what else can they do?’ We just want to put it all out on the table this Tuesday. We want people to know that there’s always something different in our bag of tricks.

“We’re so excited and so fortunate that we have the great support at home from our families, our friends, our clubs, the city. It’s a great foundation for us to do our best here.”

To vote, starting at 10:55 p.m. ET on Tuesday, go to http://www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/vote. For more information on voting, go to http://www.aquanuts.org/content/lets-vote-aquanuts-americas-got-talent.