Sweet Brooklyn Peaches! Duo revives art of synchronized swimming

Sweet Brooklyn Peaches! Duo revives art of synchronized swimming
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A pair of sultry water ballerinas with fishnet gloves, old Hollywood flair and a boatload of Brooklyn chutzpah has taken the plunge to bring synchronized swimming to the borough.

Nicole Salm and Nicole Sciarrillo are the Brooklyn Peaches, an aquatic duo that’s adding splashes of Esther Williams to chic soirees and fitness classes while enchanting new acolytes — which have included a 70-year-old tattooed grandma and one brave male — with their humble approach to a time-honored art.

“We don’t go crazy with sequins or appliqué like competitive performers,” said Sciarrillo, 37, a grad student from Carroll Gardens. “They’re intimidating and smiling too hard.”

The amateur duo began moonlighting as urban mermaids in 2010 after meeting a ballerina in Paris who made them nostalgic for the swim and dance classes of their youth. Today, they’ve turned the Brooklyn Peaches into a creative project: Salm and Sciarrillo teach a class at the Dodge YMCA in Boerum Hill and the Brooklyn Peaches have appeared at an arts festival in the Rockaways, a winter pool party at a Park Avenue hotel, and an indie rock show at the Midtown Holiday Inn.

“We don’t want to compete,” said Salm, a 33-year-old digital sales rep and former dancer from Ditmas Park. “We want it to be fun, and we encourage all the other teams and swimmers out there to join us.”

The Peaches come to class dressed to thrill, donning black bathing suits, fingerless mesh gloves and red lipstick before cavorting to such classic numbers as “The Tide is High” by Blondie, and Peggy Lee’s “Fever.” Their uber moves — including the ballet leg (where a swimmer extends a leg perpendicular to the water while floating on her back) or the eggbeater (rotating lower legs in opposite directions) — gives them a wow workout without the drab drill.

“It feels like recess after a long day!” Sciarrillo said. “There’s something exhilarating about getting in a pool and having the opportunity to perform and learn something new.”

The infectious routines have transformed newbies into nymphs.

Roy Auty, a 35-year-old from Fort Greene and the only male in the class, said he’s always dreamed of learning synchronized swimming — but he likes the company more than the workouts themselves.

“There are definitely times I’m upside-down in the water, trying to do a perfect ballet leg and I’m pretty sure my body isn’t supposed to do this,” said Auty, who also wears the Brooklyn Peaches’ signature fingerless gloves during the routine. “I get odd looks in the changing room from time to time, but I like to think they’re looks of jealousy.”

Cobble Hill resident Kate Pennell, 48, has performed with the pool goddesses twice in Brooklyn and Manhattan since joining their class, where she flexes her newly honed fins to “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash.

“The Nicoles are the most charming, adorable and embracing people in the world,” she said. “You can’t help but enjoy their moves.”

The star of the show, of course, is the actual workout, she adds.

“It’s hard and funny and weird, but very engaging!”

Brooklyn Peaches will host a demo class at the Dodge YMCA [225 Atlantic Ave. between Court Street and Boerum Place in Downtown, (718) 625-3136] on Jan. 24 at 8 pm. Classes are held on Tuesdays, Jan. 31-Feb. 21 at 8 pm; $120 for members and $180 for non-members. For more info, visit www.ymcanyc.org.

Reach Kate Briquelet at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

Nicole Salm and Nicole Sciarrillo are the Brooklyn Peaches — the borough’s own synchronized swim duo specializing in throwback performances with a dash of Brooklyn flair.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini