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Ballet in the water. What does synchronized swimming consist of?

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Eliezer Barker
Ballet in the water. What does synchronized swimming consist of?

Synchronized swimming is also known as “water ballet.” This is no surprise, since the pattern of movements is so rigorous that finding similarities with standard ballet is child’s play.

Synchronized swimming involves a series of movements that are choreographed in a specific water choreography under a musical piece being performed (often live), usually from the classical music category. Thus, it resembles a staged ballet, except that in water.

What do the swimmers face?

It takes years of study, discipline and biological predisposition for any professional swimmer to engage in synchronized swimming. The athletes go underwater for up to several minutes, holding their breath they have to perform a multitude of figures that expend energy. 

All this under the pressure of thousands of watchers. In this case, there is no exit gate, as happens in the theater – when an actor makes a mistake, he can improvise – or on a film set, when one can simply repeat the scene being played out. Here, emerging too early means failure of the entire performance. So the swimmers have to hold their breath, perform difficult and exhausting figures, and then surface, and instead of grasping the air greedily, they are supposed to remain calm, composed and smiling beautifully in an almost unnatural way.

Swimmers are forced to move underwater most of the time, with their legs up. The common opinion is that this discipline is as difficult as it is beautiful to watch. Most of these figures or breath-holding with such intensity of maneuvers would not be performed by most professional swimmers.

Synchronized swimming – categories 

Synchronized swimming is divided into many minor competitions, we distinguish among others:

  • Solo,
  • Duet,
  • Trio,
  • Team,
  • Combination,
  • Figures,
  • SEA: duet and team.
  1. Solo – a performance involving a single actor-swimmer accompanied by music.
  2. Duets and trios – teams of two or three people who synchronize their movements to the rhythm of music.
  3. Team – consists of a group of players with a maximum of seven people.
  4. Combinations – is divided into segments. Each segment can have a different number of swimmers, usually there are about ten.

    At the Olympic Games it is possible to see water ballet in duet and team versions.

Men’s synchronized swimming

It has become accepted that this discipline is the domain of women. It is difficult to give reasons for this, although aesthetic factors certainly play a role. However, this does not mean that synchronized swimming is shunned by men.

Although indeed the world championships and Olympic competitions are closed to men, separate tournaments have been created specifically for them. Among others, they can take part in the EuroGames, one of the most important synchronized swimming competitions in Europe.

main photo: unsplash.com/Lavi Perchik

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