Health & Fitness

What is synchronized swimming?

Have you seen the difficulty of the acrobatics and the beauty of the figures performed by the synchronized swim dancers with lifeguard certification?

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Within the group of pool sports, synchronized swimming appears as one of the most artistic. The choreographies that the participants carry out are really impressive and demand many physical qualities. Learn all about this sport below.

The pool is not only a setting for competitive swimming with lifeguard certification, in which the objective is to cover a certain distance in less time than rivals. There are also other very varied disciplines, such as water polo, diving, and synchronized swimming.

We will dedicate the following article to the latter. It is common to see him at the Olympic Games, but we usually lose track of him until the next edition of this sporting event. What should we know about this sport?

Synchronized swimming basics

Also known as synchronized swimming with lifeguard certification, men and women can practice this sport individually, in groups – from 4 to 8 or 10 participants – or in pairs. There is also a mixed modality in pairs, called combined.

The entity responsible for its regulation is FINA, International Swimming Federation.

The objective of this discipline is to perform figures and dances in the pool through body movements to the rhythm of the music.

The pools used for this sport have certain peculiar features. The measurements are 20 meters long by 30 wide, although they may vary.

Also, as music is a central component for each number, there are speakers underwater so that athletes can hear it and keep up with the rhythm.

The clothing is another of the most outstanding details of this sport. The swimsuits are colorful, can have glitter, and should be comfortable for competitors; yes, they cannot have transparent parts.


Synchronized swimming was born in the early 20th century, thanks to Australian dancer Annette Kellerman, who took her water ballet show across North America using a glass pool.

In that edition, it was presented as an exhibition, but by Seoul 1988 it was already accepted within the official grid.

Competition modalities

Competitors have to perform two different routines in each synchronized swimming event. They are as follows:

  1. Technique: the technical routine is made up of mandatory movements established in advance by a FINA committee. A specific order must be followed and the duration is two minutes and twenty seconds for duets and two minutes and fifty seconds for teams. Music can be chosen.
  2. Free: as its name indicates, the music and the elements of the routine are chosen without restriction. The maximum time is three minutes and thirty seconds for duets and four minutes for teams.

In the technical routine, one panel assesses the performance – completion of the mandatory parts – and another the overall impression.

In the free routine, meanwhile, one panel observes the technical merit —aspects such as timing and difficulty— and another the artistic impression.

Skills needed to perform synchronized swimming

First of all, it is clear that synchronized swimming demands a very good technique for swimming. Floating, and submerging in the water. Physical endurance is essential to be able to endure so many minutes of continuous movement. But the cardiovascular state must also be outstanding.

Since the aesthetic component is essential in the final assessment of the performance of each participant. Similarly, synchronization and knowledge between swimmers are essential.  Based on this, you can begin to practice the basic figures of this exciting and beautiful sport.

Outstanding athletes

Even the most outstanding athletes have someone to reflect on. A figure to follow as an example, whether from a competitive point of view or in other aspects of life. For the Spanish swimmer Mireia Belmonte, the American Michael Phelps is this idol to admire and imitate.

The athlete from Badalona has also expressed her appreciation for the also Spanish Nina Zhivanevskaya, multiple European champions and winner of two bronze medals at the Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Belmonte has described her as his “guide and advisor”, and regretted much his retirement after the Beijing Olympics.

In the following article, we propose to analyze why Michael Phelps is such an influential figure for many swimmers and how he has contributed to Mireia’s self-improvement, especially in her early years as an elite swimmer.

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