Bill May is one of the few male synchronized swimmers in the world. He started synchronized swimming because his sister began to participate with a team at their local pool. May decided that he would rather join his sister in the pool instead of sit on the sidelines and watch. When May was 16 years old, he decided that he wanted to take his competitive career to the next level by moving to Santa Clara, CA to train with the Santa Clara Aquamaids- the best synchronized swimming club in the nation.
At the end of May’s competitive career, he had established himself as the best synchronized swimmer in the world. He had earned 14 U.S. national titles and 20 international titles. He had dreamed of taking his talent and hard work to the highest level in the sport- the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, Féderation Internationale de Natation’s, commonly known as FINA, rules do not permit men to do so.
When May was 25 years old, Cirque du Soleil contacted him and gave him the opportunity to be one of the main characters in their production “O” at the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip. This came at the perfect time for him since his teammates had just competed in various Olympic Games and were all retiring. Performing for Cirque was the perfect next step for him to take.
May currently performs in “O” and thoroughly loves his job. He is thankful that he has a career to show for his hard work. Although May does miss competitive synchronized swimming, he embraces the opportunity to do what he loves for a living. “I’m just performing in front of a different set of judges, not just six judges anymore, but now 1,800.”
When I asked May if he had any advice to give to aspiring athletes, particularly male synchronized swimmers, he said, “Like with any sport, you may face hardships but you cannot allow other people’s opinions to mold who you will be in the athletic world. If you love what you do, you will come out on top.”