Synchronised Swimming

Synchronised Swimming is one of the four disciplines of the sport of Aquatics.

Did you know?

Synchronised Swimming began as a sport for men in the 1800s. It is now one of two sports on today’s Olympic programme to be contested only by women. The other is Rhythmic Gymnastics.
The pool must be a minimum of 20m by 30m, and within that a 12m by 12m area must be at least 3m deep. The water temperature must be 26 degrees Celsius, plus or minus one degree.
Hollywood star Esther Williams performed water ballet in several American movies in the 1940s and 1950s. She hoped to compete in the 1940 Olympic Games, but they were cancelled because of World War II.
Synchronised Swimming began as a sport for men in the 1800s. It is now one of two sports on today’s Olympic programme to be contested only by women. The other is Rhythmic Gymnastics.

Key facts

Venue:  Aquatics Centre
Dates: Sunday 5 – Friday 10 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 2
Athletes: 104

Synchronised Swimming: a history of the sport

At the turn of the 20th century, Annette Kellerman, an Australian swimmer, toured the United States performing water acrobatics. Her shows proved very popular and a sport was born.

The sport was developed further by Katherine Curtis, who had the idea of combining water acrobatics with music. Her students performed at the 1933-34 Chicago ‘Century of Progress’ Fair, where the announcer, former Olympic Swimming gold medallist Norman Ross, coined the term ‘synchronised swimming’.

The competitive aspect was developed around the same time when Frank Havlicek, a student of Katherine Curtis, drew up a set of rules.

For more information on the history of the sport visit the IOC website.

Synchronised Swimming at the Games

Synchronised Swimming has featured at the Games since London 1948.

The sport did not achieve medal status until Los Angeles 1984.

How the competition runs

Synchronised Swimming is sometimes called ‘water ballet’, as competitors perform short routines to music in the pool. Routines are judged on technical merit and artistic impression.

Synchronised Swimming demands advanced water skills, great strength, endurance, flexibility, grace, artistry and precise timing, as well as exceptional breath control when upside down underwater.

Athletes use nose clips to help them stay underwater for longer, while underwater speakers help them to stay synchronised.

The two events are for women only: Duet (for pairs) and Team (for groups of eight).

Jargon buster

  • Deckwork: The mood-setting moves that swimmers perform on the deck once the music starts before they enter the water. 
  • Eggbeater: A powerful way of treading water, used in Synchronised Swimming and Water Polo.
  • Ballet leg: A position where one leg is extended perpendicular to the water surface, with the body in a back layout position. 
  • Rocket split: A move involving a thrust to the vertical position, followed by a rapid leg split before returning to the vertical position at maximum height.

Get involved

If you want to know more about clubs, facilities and coaching schemes in your area, contact your national federation. Visit British Swimming, Federation Internationale de Natation, Welsh Amateur Swimming Association, Swim Ulser and Scottish Swimming.

synchronised swimmiing at the beijing 2008 games

~ by superbowlnyc on February 20, 2011.

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