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Synchronized Swimming

Synchronized Swimming, also called Artistic Swimming, is an water sport where athletes perform synchronized dance routines to background music, while they are floating in the water. The objective of the sport is to ensure all members of the team make the exact same movements which also flawlessly blends with the music, without their legs ever touching the floor.

The sport has different formats of competitions based on the number of athletes performing the routine. Solo (one), duet (two), trio (three) and team (four to eight) are the major formats used. Currently the Olympic Games has medal competitions only for the duet and team (team of 8) formats.

In each format of competition, athletes perform two different types of routines. The first is the technical routine and the second is a free routine. The technical routine requires a set of predetermined technical aspects of the sport to be performed in a specific order. The free routine, which is usually longer than a technical routine, has no restrictions and is open for swimmers to display their creativity.

synchronized swimmers synchronized swimmers

Each routine is judged based on two broad aspects, technical merit and artistic impression. Technical merit, looks for execution, difficulty and synchronization, while artistic impressions cover choreography, music interpretation and manner of presentation. Scores between 1 and 100, in multiples of a thousandth of a point, is awarded for each routine. The team (or an individual) with the highest score in the two rounds combined is adjudged the winner.

Synchronized swimming is predominantly a women's sport, where all the major competitions, including the Olympics, are conducted only for women. Recently the sport has been opened up for men, where some international events have separate competitions for men. The 2015 world aquatic championships for the first time, included a mixed duet event, where men partnered with women to compete in that event. At the 2024 Olympics, up to two men will be eligible to part of the group team event.

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