What is Synchronized Swimming?


Synchronized swimming is the execution of precise movements on, above and beneath the water performing to music.


a gymnast performing underwater

a six minute miler running without breathing

an ice skater perfecting movements in an unstable medium

a water polo player's strength to extend out of the water

a long distance swimmer's lung capacity developed for endurance

Add to this a combination of grace, fluidity and synchronization with an entire team and you have just imagined synchronized swimming.


In synchronized swimming, there are several different events:

Solo (single swimmer)

Duet (2 swimmers)

Team (4-8 swimmers)

Combo (4-10 swimmers)

A separate part of the competition is Figures for swimmers 15 and under, where the swimmer must perform several precise body movements without music in front of a panel of judges. Swimmers ages 16-19 perform technical routines in lieu of figures.

Equipment Needed

Practice suits, goggles, caps, nose clips, one solid black suit and plain white cap for figure competition, and routine competition suits. Routine suits may involve some sewing of sequins on the suit and headpiece (to be determined by the members of the routine).

Other Synchro Facts

nose clip
The most important piece of equipment for synchronized swimmers is the nose clip. Although it may seem unusual, the nose clip is vital because it prevents water form entering the nasal cavity during upside-down movements. A synchro swimmer carries an extra nose clip in her suit in case the one she is wearing gets knocked off during a routine.

dissolved unflavored gelatin
For lack of a better product, dissolved unflavored gelatin is used to keep the synchronized swimmer's hair in place while she is spinning upside down and moving throughout the pool. Click here for complete gelling instructions.

Synchronized swimming is an artist sport like ice skating. Sequined suits are meant to enhance the performance. Makeup brings out the swimmer's features and the smiles you might see plaster on a swimmer's face are meant to deceive the audience into believing that the performance is easy. Would you want to watch a routine if the swimmers looked like they were in pain?

time underwater
In a five minute routine, synchronized swimmers might spend up to one minute under water without air. At the same time, they are using their arms and legs to suspend themselves above water. Doing this is similar to running while holding your breath!

strong swimmer
A lift done by raising the body of one or more swimmers up to or above the surface of the water. Swimmers execute lifts with only their body strength and are not allowed to use the bottom of the pool.