History of Synchronized Swimming

History of Synchronized Swimming

Synchronized Swimming, commonly known as Artistic Swimming, is a hybrid form of Swimming, gymnastic, and dance, involving the swimmers who perform a synchronized routine of elaborate moves in the water, accompanied by choreography and music.

Synchronized Swimming, also called Water Ballet, is a type of swimming sport in which the movements of one or and more swimmers are synchronized with musical support. This sport is known as water Ballet because of its similarity to dance. It is a strenuous yet skillful and creative sport. The sport of Synchronized Swimming requires a massive endurance level as the synchronized swimmers often have to hold their breath for more than minutes at a time.

Synchronized Swimming is a sport that demands an advanced level of water skills and requires excellent endurance, flexibility, grace, strength, and precise timing, as well as breath control ability when upside down underwater. The competitors show off their flexibility and power that are required in performing challenging swim routines.

This was all about the present scenario of synchronized Swimming, but do you know anything about its history, like where it came from or when it began? If no, then we are here to help you out. Please read the complete article to know about the history of Synchronized Swimming along with its advantages, disadvantages, injuries associated with it, the judging and scoring pattern of it in the Olympics, and many more things.

Let’s start then!

History of Synchronized Swimming

History of Synchronized Swimming

Synchronized Swimming was first originated at the turn of the 20th century, and at that time, it was popularly known as water ballet. The first swimming club for synchronized Swimming is recorded to have started in around 1891 when the first competition was recorded in Berlin, Germany, in the same year. Many of the swimming clubs were formed at that time with the first water ballet club at the University of Chicago. The sport of synchronized Swimming simultaneously gained popularity in Canada.

In 1907, an Australian lady, Annette Kellerman, caught and grabbed the entire nation’s attention by performing in a glass tank at New York Hippodrome. Then she was popularly known as the underwater ballerina. After few years, a group of women in Canada has developed what they called Ornamental Swimming.

During the late 19th century, the sport of synchronized Swimming was only a male event. However, by the mid of the 20th century, it became a female sport too, with men being banned from many competitions. In the United States, men were allowed to participate in Synchronized Swimming with women until the year 1941, when it became part of AAU i.e., Amateur Athletic Union. As per the rules of AAU, the men and women were required to compete separately, resulting in the decline of male swimmers.

Later in 1978, the United States changed its rules, and again they allowed men to participate in synchronized Swimming and compete with women. By the end of the year 1984, synchronized Swimming was admitted as an Olympic competition. And in July 2017, FINA, by following the IOC’s request, approved changes to its constitution that renamed the sport of Synchronized Swimming to Artistic Swimming.

The Big Names In Synchronized Swimming

Synchronized Swimming is one of the most popular sports, which is also a part of the Olympic games. The big and the most famous names in the list of Best Synchronized Swimmers are listed below, which are ranked from 1 to 8 on the basis of their total medal count, which they have won from all modern Olympic games.

  • Anastasia Davydova
  • Natalia Ishchenko
  • Svetlana Romashina
  • Anastasia Ermakova
  • Olga Brusnikina
  • Mariya Gromova
  • Elvira Khasyanova
  • Mariya Kiselyova

The all-time great and famous names of Synchronized Swimmers at the Olympic Games are the Russians Anastasia Davydova, Natalia Ishchenko, and Svetlana Romashina. All of them have won five gold medals each. And the rest have won 3 gold medals each.

Judging And Scoring Of Synchronized Swimming In Olympics

Judging And Scoring Of Synchronized Swimming In Olympics

This section will let you know the swim routines, judging, and scoring pattern of Synchronized Swimming in the Olympics.


The Olympic format of Synchronized Swimming involves two swim routines i.e., Free Routine and Technical Routine.

Free Routine: Under free swim routines, there are no restrictions as to the choice of choreography and music. But the routine length cannot be more than 5 minutes, plus or minus 15 seconds, and the time limit of deck work is 10 seconds.
Technical routine: Under technical swim routines, it will have required elements that the swimmer must perform in a series. All the teams can choose their own music, and they can also add additional choreography, but they cannot perform the elements out of specified order, and the time length is 2 minutes 50 seconds.


The Olympic format of Synchronized Swimming involves a panel of 10 judges who will award points on the scale of 0 to 10 in one-tenth point increments. Out of all the ten judges, five judges will give points for Artistic Impression, and the other five judges will give points for the Technical Merit.

  • Artistic Impressions: The Artistic Impressions will have three components on the basis of which the scores will be given:
  • Choreography
  • Music Interpretation
  • Manner Of Presentation
  • Technical Merit: The Technical Merit will have three major components on the basis of which the scores will be given:
  • Execution
  • Synchronization
  • Difficulty

The highest and lowest scores awarded in each category are canceled, and the remaining scores are then averaged. The Artistic Impression scores are multiplied by 4 (four), and the Technical Merit scores are multiplied by 6 (six). The total of these two scores equals the routine score.


penelties in Synchronized Swimming

The penalties between one, two, or half points, although rarely assessed, may be administered by the referee for the purpose of infractions.

  • One Point Penalty: 
  • Deviating from a specific time limit allowance for a swim routine.
  • Exceeding the prescribed time limit of 10 seconds for deck movement.
  • Two Point Penalty:
  • A swimmer making deliberate use of the bottom of the pool during a routine.
  • A swimmer making intentional use of the pool’s bottom during a routine to help another swimmer.
  • Half Point Penalty
  • A required element is missing or omitted from the Technical Routine.

Is Synchronized Swimming Good?

Often termed as water ballet, the elegant sport of synchronized Swimming requires more power and strength than you would actually assume. Many of you might have the same question in mind whether synchronized Swimming is right for you or not, then here is the answer.

Though there are some of the dangers and injuries associated with Synchronized Swimming, yes, it is a good sport with various health and fitness benefits. Below mention are some of the top health and fitness benefits of Synchronized Swimming:

  • Makes you ultra-flexible
  • Works the brain
  • Increased aerobic capacity
  • Increased stamina
  • Increased lungs capacity
  • Supreme endurance
  • Increased muscular strength
  • Increased discipline
  • Good for emotional health
  • Good for psychological health
  • Increased team building and confidence
  • Boosts leg muscles and upper body strength
  • Improves balance, posture, and mental concentration
  • Develops the cardiovascular system of the body

Is Synchronized Swimming Sore For Your Body?

Is Synchronized Swimming Sore For Your Body?

As every thing has a positive and negative side, the sport of synchronized Swimming also has both the pros and the cons. As in the previous section, you have seen how synchronized Swimming can be beneficial for your mental and physical health. So, many of you might also be confused that does synchronized Swimming has ill effects as well? You will find the answer below.
If you are confused that whether synchronized Swimming is sore for your body, then the answer to this question is undoubtedly yes. Along with many of the benefits it offers, synchronized Swimming is somewhat bitter and painful for your body as well.

Although Synchronized Swimming is an outstanding and graceful sport, there can be some dangers associated with it. The synchronized swimmers must continuously move their legs in the circular movement like an egg beater. As you know, synchronized Swimming is a contact sport, and therefore the kick of the swimmers is so powerful and strong that the other swimmers may get hit by it that will cause concussions, nose or toes fracture, or knocking of nose clips. Head injuries, strained muscle, dislocation, impingement, etc. are the other dangers that are associated with the synchronized Swimming that can cause soreness, ache, and pain in your body.

Practicing For Synchronized Swimming

If you want to practice for synchronized Swimming or want to get involved in this sport, you must need to be a strong and powerful swimmer and make up your mind for facing various injuries that you might get in your journey as a synchronized swimmer.

In order to reach a higher level and a high standard, synchronized swimmers are likely to train with the regular speed swimmers who are working on building fitness and stamina, as well as having separate individual sessions which are devoted to working on the transition movements set body positions, and synchronization with the teammates.

Unlike all the other sports, it is quite tricky and challenging to get an entry-level position in synchronized Swimming because it is not a suitable sport for everyone. Your best chance of getting into the sport of Synchronized Swimming would either be searching for any local swim teams that welcome newcomers or contacting local swimming associations who can guide you in the right direction.

Injuries Associated With Synchronized Swimming

injuries Associated With Synchronized Swimming

Injuries are indeed an inescapable part of life, especially for those who are athletes by profession. So, if you are a swimmer or an athlete, then you may face various injuries right from the start. From slipping on the pool deck to snubbing out your toe in the middle of the night, you are bound to experience some of the minor and significant injuries, pains and aches at some point during your entire career as a synchronized swimmer. Even a misguided breaststroke kick by a team member can cause you a little damage in many cases.

There are generally 2 types of injuries that are associated with Synchronized Swimming:

  1. Chronic/Overuse Injury: The Chronic or an acute injury is the product of a mildly traumatic action that is repeated again and again. In Synchronized Swimming, sculling, and eggbeater are the most common reasons for chronic and overuse pain.
  2. Acute Traumatic Injury: Acute traumatic injury often results from a collision or direct hit. A broken or damaged nose from a breaststroke kick to the face or strain from a split rocket is the perfect example of acute traumatic injury.

The five most common injuries associated with Synchronized Swimming are as follows:

  • Head Injury: From concussions to bruises and scratches
  • Fracture: Usually the nose or toes
  • Strained Or Pulled Muscle: Often resulting from a quick and overextension movement
  • Impingement: Commonly an impinged hip or shoulder
  • Dislocation: The most frequent types are the dislocated knees

The simple steps for treating the injuries are mentioned below:

  • Wait it out
  • Examine the area
  • RICE the injury where RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation
  • Seek outside assistance


As you have reached down to the bottom line of Synchronized Swimming, so how did you find this sport? Isn’t it seem to be cool and creative? The sport of synchronized Swimming has various benefits associated with it, but on the other hand, it is sore and painful for your body as well. You might face multiple injuries during Swimming’s entire journey, but luckily, most of them are minor and easily treatable. Overcoming the injuries will make you much stronger than before, both mentally and physically!

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Anything that involves water I just have to get at it. Whether it's going for a dip, Going on a Jetski, Or getting pulled behind a boat on a ring. It's what I love.

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