What is Synchronized Swimming
- A gymnast performing underwater...
- A 400-meter freestyle event in swimming with little opportunity to breathe...
- The figures, leaps, and spins of a figure skater performed in an unstable medium...
- The water polo player's ability to emerge above the surface of the water with power and strength with an added touch of elegance...
- A dancer's artistic flair with choreography, musical expressions, and audience contact...
- Add grace and fluidity and multiply by two, three or eight individuals synchronizing each part of every movement and that is synchronized swimming!
Synchronized swimming is a sport requiring overall body strength and agility, grace and beauty, split-second timing, musical interpretation, and dramatic flair. It is a unique sport in which power, strength, and technical skill are displayed in an artistically choreographed piece. The competitive rules and manner of judging of synchronized swimming are similar to its counterparts, figure skating and gymnastics.
There are three events recognized internationally in synchronized swimming: solo, duet, and team. In addition to these routine events, each competitor must participate in the compulsory figure competition. The scores earned in this event are added to those of the routine competition to determine each event's winners.
To perform a strenuous routine while maintaining an effortless appearance is a very difficult and important quality that is expected by the judges. To understand the physical demands and endurance needed to perform the 3 1/2 to 5 minute routines, consider running while holding your breath for lengths of time up to 30 seconds. The routines demonstrate what has made "synchro" so popular with audiences. Much of the appeal is found in the use of the music to demonstrate the athlete's skills, technique and creativity. "Routines are enhanced by the use of original and expressive movements, patterns and rhythms." Quoted from usasynchro.org
Elements of Competition
Synchronized swimming is an artistic sport, like ice skating. Sequined suits are meant to enhance the performance. Makeup brings out the swimmer's features, and the smiles you might see plastered on a swimmer's face are meant to deceive the audience into believing that the performance is easy.
Would you want to watch a routine if the swimmers looked like they were in pain?
In a five minute routine, synchronized swimmers might spend up to one minute under water without air. At the same time, they are using their arms and legs to suspend themselves above water. Doing this is similar to running while holding your breath!
A lift is done by raising the body of one or more swimmers up to or above the surface of the water. Swimmers execute lifts with only their body strength and are not allowed to use the bottom of the pool.
The most important piece of equipment for synchronized swimmers is the nose clip. Although it may seem unusual, the nose clip is vital because it prevents water from entering the nasal cavity during upside-down movements. For lack of a better product, dissolved unflavored gelatin is used to keep the synchronized swimmer's hair in place while she is spinning upside down and moving through the pool.