What is Synchro (Artistic)?

img_9807img_9802Younger team members of NoVa Synchro, an Arlington County-based youth synchronized swim team, come together to create shapes that flow from one pattern to the next at the Wakefield pool in April. (LIZ VANCE/For The Washington Post)Image running while performing gymnastics, holding your breath, looking graceful, and having to keep in time to the music with precise choreography.  Swimmers work hard to make their routines look beautiful and easy.

The sport used to be known as water balletIt has been dated back to the Romans. It was made an Olympic sport in 1984. The governing body for 6 aquatic disciplines with 176 federations represented, FINA general congress voted to change the name of the sport from water ballet to synchronized swimming. In July 2017, FINA, voted again to rename sport to artistic swimming.


Competitors need strength and flexibility to perform twists and lifts as well as rhythm and flair to synchronize with artistic interpretation to music, which they listen to through underwater speakers. Swimmers commonly learn to hold their breath underwater for around a minute. Routines can be anything from two and a half minutes to five minutes long, depending on whether the swimmers perform alone or part of a team. For the London 2012 Olympic Games, synchronised swimmers tested and ranked second only to long distance runners in aerobic capacity! 

The swimmers are grouped by skill level and age. At the younger levels swimmers compete as a solo, duet, trio, or team (typically of 8 swimmers).  All swimmers compete at the regional level with teams from Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Our age group swimmers compete at the national level in the South Zone and Junior Olympics.

The number one rule, is no athletes are permitted to touch the bottom of the pool during a routine, even when lifting one another.

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