In 1964, a group of new Laguna Woods residents met at the Clubhouse 1 pool every evening. The women quickly became friends, sharing a love of water and swimming. In 1965, they had their first official meeting. Soon they decided to call themselves the Aquadettes. The rest, as they say, is history..
The Laguna Woods History Center is sharing that history in an exhibit that pays tribute to 58 years of the synchronized swimming team, the “first and oldest club in the Village.”
The curator of the exhibit is Village resident Robert Reyes, a PhD researcher who is the new director of social media and exhibits at the History Center.
The Aquadettes exhibit serves not only to spotlight the artistic swimming team ahead of the Aqua Follies water show in September, but also to shine a light on the History Center.
“We wanted the community to know what we’re all about, to inform residents of our archive room,” Reyes said, calling it “one of the best archives in Orange County.”
It’s into the archive room visitors will have to venture to find a treasure trove of Aquadettes history: five scrapbooks full of photos, newspaper clippings, original programs, a 1968 handbook on swimming requirements, even a letter written on behalf of President and Mrs. Nixon, sending their regrets to an invitation to a water show in 1969.
While in the archive room, visitors might also want to peruse other Village history, including books on the various clubs over the years. According to Reyes, for $50 a year, clubs can store their history at the center.
The archive room also houses Village newspapers going as far back as when this editor was a youngster. There’s even a piece of the old Leisure World Globe that stood just outside the Village along the 5 Freeway.
The Aquadettes exhibit runs through Sept. 10. The team is back after a two-year Covid hiatus with the Aqua Follies show Sept. 8, 9 and 10 at the Clubhouse 1 pool.
The History Center is next to the Village Library. It is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., or by appointment; call 949-206-0150. Check out the center’s website at lagunawoodshistory.org.
See Pages 8 and 9 for historical photos of the Aquadettes.