Synchronized swimming ("synchro") is a unique sport in which power, strength and technical skill are presented as an artistically beautiful choreographed routine. Overall body strength and agility, grace and beauty, split-second timing, and musical interpretation are simultaneously blended together to create a fluid presentation. The competition rules and the manner of judging are similar those in figure skating and gymnastics.
Ever since synchro began in the early 1900s, spectators have been awed by the grace and power of this exciting sport. The first U.S. National Championships were held in 1946. Synchronized swimming became a part of the Pan American Games in 1955 and the World Aquatic Championships in 1973. In 1984, synchronized swimming was finally added to the Olympic Games. This event is expected to be a crowd favorite yet again at Rio 2016.
For more information about the United States National Teams, upcoming events and results, see the US National Team page.
Synchronized swimming is a physically demanding sport that tests the athlete's aerobic and anaerobic endurance, strength, and flexibility. It is also an extremely cerebral sport, requiring memorization of routines, a heightened kinesthetic awareness, and concentration.
The July 2012 edition of The Winged M (p. 68) cites a study by the Indiana University Department of Kinesiology that concluded: "Synchro workouts rely on the brain's neuro-plasticity: its ability to change and adapt." According to the research, synchro improves brain - neuron connectivity and helps preserve the reaction time between the brain and the muscles well into the adult senior years.
All in all, it's a great all-around sport for both the young and the old.
did you know?
In a five minute routine, athletes might spend up to one minute underwater without air while simultaneously using their arms and legs to suspend themselves above water. The effort can be compared to running without taking a breath for up to 30 seconds.
The most important piece of equipment for synchronized swimmers is the nose clip. This insignificant-looking swimming aid is critical as it prevent water from entering the nasal cavity during an upside-down performance. A synchro swimmer always carries an extra nose clip in her suit in case the one she is wearing gets knocked off during a routine.
For lack of a better product, dissolved unflavored gelatin (Knox), is used to keep a synchronized swimmer's hair in place while she is spinning upside down and moving throughout the pool. It also makes all the swimmers of the team appear similar.