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Synchronized Swimming

Synchronized swimming is a sport requiring power, strength, and technical skill. These artistically choreographed routines display overall body strength and agility, grace and beauty, split-second timing, musical interpretation, and a flair for the dramatic.

Maintaining an effortless appearance while performing a strenuous routine is very difficult, yet this is an important quality expected by the judges. The physical demands and endurance needed to perform the approximately four-minute routine are not much different from running for that same length of time.

Because approximately half of the swimmers’ time is spent entirely underwater during competition, without contact with the bottom of the pool, swimmers run, bike, lap swim, and lift weights to build up endurance and strength.

They also spend hours every day practicing ballet and various forms of dance to develop the artistic expression and fluid, graceful movements that are essential to synchronized swimming.

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Competition is divided into two elements: compulsory figures and original routines. A panel of ten judges awards points from 0 to 10. Five judges award points for technical merit and five judges evaluate artistic impression. 

Technical Routine Elements
The technical routine has a number of required elements that are performed in a set order, using the music of each competitor’s choice. The time limit is 2 minutes, 50 seconds for the team competition and 2 minutes, 20 seconds for the duet competition.

The times include a maximum of 10 seconds for movements on the deck before entering the water. Scores are the total of the technical merit and artistic impression awards. The highest and lowest awards for each one are canceled. Then each is divided by the number of judges minus two, and the technical merit award is multiplied by six and the artistic impression award is multiplied by four.

Except for the cadence action in the team competition, deck movements and entry into the water must be done simultaneously by each team member. Ten seconds (plus or minus) are the allotted time limits. For example, a technical routine in the team competition is satisfactory if its length is between 2 minutes, 40 seconds and 3 minutes. 

Original Routine Competition
Original routine competition execution, synchronization, and difficulty are rated for the technical merit score, while the artistic impression score reflects choreography, musical interpretation, and the manner of presentation.

News, History, and Fast Facts

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General Sports Links
Olympians will compete in dozens of sports this summer. Even though Gateway to the Summer Games can't feature them all, you can learn about each and every one by visiting the sites listed below.

Portions of the above text were excerpted from Share the Olympic Dream--Volume II.
© 2001 by Griffin Publishing Group/United States Olympic Committee.

For information on purchasing Griffin materials, please visit the Griffin Publishing Group Web site at http://www.griffinpublishing.com.


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