Synchronized swimming is a form of swimming which combines the sport of swimming with the artistic characteristics of both gymnastics and dance. It could be performed by a solo, a duet, a trio, or more commonly, by a team of swimmers. As its name implies, synchronized swimming involves performing a synchronized routine of complicated and intricate moves in the water while being accompanied by background music.Synchronized swimming requires a lot from its participants. Swimmers that participate in this sport have to have highly advanced swimming skills along with incredible breath control because many maneuvers require the swimmer to be upside down under the water. They also have to be very graceful, flexible, and artistic in the water. Lastly, the swimmers must have an impeccable sense of timing in order for the routine.
In both the Olympic Championship and the World Championship events of synchronized swimming, men are not allowed to compete. However, in the US and Canada Championships, male competitors are allowed to participate along with the women. Most of the synchronized swimming championships held in Europe allow male swimmers to compete as well. France even has male only synchronized swimming events. The Mens Cup synchronized swimming championship – a worldwide biannual synchronized swimming event for men – has also been steadily growing over the past years.During competition, the participants are required to perform two different routines that will be scored by the judges. The first one is a technical routine while the second one is a free routine. Both of these routines though require the participants to show off their endurance, elegance, and creativity. There are also age group based routines.
The technical routine also requires the participants to show off predetermined elements of synchronized swimming that must be done in the exact order that they have been given. The free routine on the other hand has no such bounds. This is the routine where the swimmers incorporate their own unique moves and show off their imaginative and artistic talents.The length of time allowed for the routines is greatly dependent on the number of participants. Solo and duet competitions are the shortest routines as they are given just two and a half minutes to complete their routine. Team competitions naturally would require more time for them to be able to show off their skills and are therefore usually given up to 5 minutes to complete their routine. The skill level of the competition and the age level of the participants are also usually considered when determining the maximum allowed time for the completion of a routine.Synchronized swimming was first exhibited at the Olympics during the 1952 summer games. It was not until the Olympic Games at Los Angeles, California in 1984 however that it became an official sport of the Olympics. Furthermore, it was only in 1968 that synchronized swimming was recognized by the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) as the fourth official water sport, joining the ranks of swimming, water polo, and platform diving.