She began her love of swimming at age three. At 11, her older sisters taught her “water ballet” and she was immediately hooked. She loved the music, the creativity, the artistry and best of all, swimming upside down! She then discovered the Washington Athletic Club Synchronized Swimming Team, where she competed through high school. After high school, she moved and competed with the reigning National Champion, Santa Clara Aquamaids. It was with the Aquamaids, she became a National Team champion in 1970.
In 1971, Charlotte moved back to Seattle and formed her own synchronized swimming team. After a few years of coaching, a nine year-old swimmer who could barely swim the length of the pool, caught Charlotte’s eye. That little girl’s name was Tracie Ruiz. Soon after, another little girl, Candie Costie, stood out and decided she wanted to swim duet with Tracie.
Under Charlotte’s guidance, Tracie and Candy rose to the top very quickly, winning the Junior National Duet title at the age of 16. Five years later, in 1982, when the IOC announced the inclusion of the duet on the program for the 1984 Olympic Games, Charlotte and the girls made a pact to work hard and earn the right to represent the United States in Los Angeles. Their hard work and dedication paid off as Charlotte was named head Olympic coach and the girls went on to win the gold medal for the USA; because of the Soviet boycott, the IOC added the solo competition at the last minute. Tracie Ruiz won the gold medal in that event as well.
Charlotte Davis was instrumental in the formation of the U.S. Synchronized Swimming Inc. program that began when the corporation was formed in 1979. She was hired as the organization’s first full-time National Team coach in 1984 and in 1992 was named National Team Director, a position she held until her retirement in 2000. During her tenure, the USA was the dominant force in international synchronized swimming. In addition to the gold medals in 1984, she coached twins, Karen Josephson and Sarah Josephoson, to the Olympic duet silver medal in 1988 and Tracie Ruiz to the gold in solo. In 1992, the Josephsons won the duet, while Kristen Babb won the solo gold in Barcelona. As the National Team Director and assistant Olympic coach in 1996, Charlotte also played a major role in the USA’s “perfect ten” performance in Atlanta. It was the first Olympic gold medal awarded for the team event in Olympic history.
Charlotte Davis shared her expertise by giving clinics around the world helping to make synchronized swimming one of the marquee FINA events.