Routines are composed of leg movements (called hybrids), arm sections, and highlights (acrobatic movements). Swimmers are synchronized to each other and to the music. During a routine swimmers can never use the bottom of the pool for support. Athletes scull with the arms and eggbeater with the legs to keep afloat. After the performance, the swimmers are scored on their performance based on execution, artistic impression, and difficulty. Execution of the routine as a whole, difficulty based on the athletes' skills level, and artistic impression based on the look of the routine overall. 

Technical vs. free routines

Once swimmers become a Junior or Senior swimmer they have to perform a “technical” routine with predetermined elements that must be performed in a specific order. The technical routine acts as a replacement for the figure event. In addition to the technical routine, the swimmers will perform a longer “free” routine, which has no requirements and is a chance for the swimmers to get creative and innovative with their choreography.

Length of routines

The type of routine and competition level determines the length of routines. Routines typically last two to four minutes, the shortest being the technical solo, with length added as the number of swimmers is increased (duets, teams, combos, and highlight). Of course, the length increases as the swimmer moves up age categories. 


Routines are scored on a scale of 100, based on the scores for execution (30% of total score), artistic impression (40% of total score), and difficulty (30% of total score). A team must consist of a minimum of 4 competitors and a maximum of 8 competitors. A combo and highlight routine are allowed up to 10 competitors. Each number of competitors missing will result in a penalty from the total score. 

Figures Competition

A standard meet begins with the swimmers competing figures, which are progressions between positions performed individually without music. All swimmers must compete wearing the standard black swimsuit and white swim cap, as well as goggles and a nose clip. Figures are performed in front of a panel of 5 judges who score individual swimmers from 1 to 10 (10 being the best). The figure competition prefaces the routine events and is only performed until the age group of 13-15-year-olds. 

Synchronized Swimmers from Aruba in the Olympics

Nicole Hoevertsz (born 30 May 1964) is a former artistic swimmer from Aruba as part of the Netherlands Antilles. She competed in the women’s duet competition at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Esther Croes (born 28 July 1966) is a former artistic swimmer from Aruba as part of the Netherlands Antilles. She competed in the women’s duet competition at the 1984 Summer Olympics. 

Roswitha Lopez (born 13 November 1969) is a former artistic swimmer from Aruba. She competed in the women’s solo and women’s duet competitions at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

Yvette Thuis (born 23 May 1971) is a former artistic swimmer from Aruba. She competed in the women’s duet competition at the 1988 Summer Olympics

How to Knox your hair for Synchronized Swimming