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London 2012: Bluffer’s guide to synchronized swimming
Synchronized swimming is often described as ‘water ballet’, because of the dance-like movements swimmers make to music, and its theatrical character.
Even though it looks like one of the easier Olympic disciplines, synchronised swimming actually calls for strength, endurance, flexibility, grace, artistry, and special endurance breathing techniques, with swimmers remaining underwater for up to 60 seconds at a time.
Venue: Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park
Date: 5 – 10 August
Deckwork: Mood-establishing moves that the swimmers perform on the pool deck when the music starts but before they enter the water.
Eggbeater: A rotary action of the legs used to support and propel the upper body in an upright position, leaving the swimmer’s arms free.
Back layout: A position in which the swimmer holds herself flat and face up on the water’s surface while sculling.
Scull: Underwater hand movements designed to move and support the body in the pool
The area used for Synchronized Swimming is 30m long, 25m wide and 3m deep.
Aided by underwater speakers, duets or teams of eight swimmers perform short routines to a musical accompaniment. Judges mark a variety of components during the course of a routine, including choreography, difficulty and execution.
In the duets event, each duet performs a technical routine for two minutes and 20 seconds and a free routine for three minutes, preliminary as part of the preliminary phase.
The total combined scores determine which 12 duets progress to the final, where each of them performs a free routine final.
The results are determined by the combination of the scores from the technical routine during the preliminary phase and the free routine final.
In the teams event, each team performs a technical routine for no longer than two minutes 50 seconds and a free routine for no longer than four minutes. The total of the two scores determines the competition results.
Although swimmers are permitted to wear nose clips, goggles are forbidden.
One to watch
GB duet Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici (nee Allison) have been climbing steadily up the world rankings, but they are not expected to win a medal.
Russian pair Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova are four-time Olympic synchronised swimming champions (wining the team and due t event in 2004 and 2008) and will be looking to add two London titles to their impeccable record.
However they will face stiff competition from their Russian teammates Svetlana Romashina and Natalia Ischenko in the duet event.
Who’s the gold medal favourite?
Russia – in both the duet and the team event.
Who to follow on twitter…
@JennaRtweets – Jenna Randall
Synchronized swimming Olympic fact
Synchronized swimming became a fully-fledged Olympic sport at the Los Angeles Games in 1984 with the removal of softball from the programme. The sport is only one of two events – rhythmic gymnastics being the other – that is open to women only.
The Women’s Sports Magazine