Long before their time as friends at Harrogate, Dot Hurley and Joan Valeri were spending time together in the water. More than 30 years ago, Dot hired Joan when she was working as a swimming director for the YWCA. Together, they shared their love of synchronized swimming, which was called ‘water ballet’ in those days, through their work with the ‘Y’. Years later, they’re sharing it again at Harrogate.
“We established it years ago at the YWCA,” says Dot. “My main reason for choosing to live here was Joan. When I found out she was here, it was our chance to share swimming with others all over again.”
And share it they have. Since starting the synchronized swimming chapter of their lives at Harrogate, Dot and Joan have helped put on two shows, including a Hawaiian-themed event that took place this year. They’ve become quite the community celebrities, and have shown their fellow residents that art takes many forms, and that there’s beauty to be found in the water.
“We were even able to involve residents who weren’t as good at swimming by using paddle boards called flutter boards with flowers on them to create intricate designs in the water,” says Dot. “It has been really satisfying to be a part of this and I’m very happy.”
For Dot and Joan, an opportunity they enjoyed earlier in life has been renewed as their Harrogatunity. It’s life renewed and it’s made retirement all the more sweet for two ladies with a passion for the pool.