Synchronised swimming was originally developed in the early 1900s in
Canada. It was first demonstrated at the Olympics in 1952 and has been a recognised
Olympic sport since 1984.
The sport demands advanced water skills, and requires
great strength, endurance, flexibility, grace, artistry and precise timing, as
well as exceptional breath control when upside down underwater. The apparent gracefulness
displayed above water masks the level of activity taking place beneath. When tested
and compared with other Olympic athletes the results showed that synchro swimmers
ranked second only to long distance runners in aerobic capacity, and to gymnasts
It used to be considered exclusively as a female sport
and at Olympic and World Championship level it still is. However, young men are
beginning to get involved and they now compete in mixed teams, particularly in
Canada and the USA. The extra physical strength of young men enables them to enhance
certain aspects of a routine such as lifts.
Synchronised swimming involves
a number of disciplines: figures in which specific techniques and movements are
displayed in isolation; technical routines and free routines each of which are
undertaken by duets and teams.
Novices to the sport soon start to learn
a variety of skills which include all the key techniques and movements that are
combined in a display. Other skills which are taught from an early stage include
team building and keeping time with other team members.