July 24 - August 9, 2015
Water sport that involves swimmers performing figures to music. Despite its seemingly effortless performance, this sport is quite demanding – apart from severe physical exertion, athletes are required to have not only stamina but also flexibility, grace, well-honed skills and exceptional breath control.
Solo, duet, team and mixed duet synchro swimmers compete in two routines: technical and free. The technical routine involves performing predetermined elements that must be executed in a specific order. The free routine has no requirements so the swimmers can be ‘free’ in how creative they get with music and their choreography. The free combination routine is a combination of solo, duet, trio, team in one routine performed by no more than 10 swimmers.
The judges award points on a scale of 0.0-10.0 (in tenths). There are three 5-member panels of judges, with the first panel scoring technical merit and synchronisation, the second scoring artistic impression (choreography, music interpretation and manner of presentation) and the third scoring difficulty in free routines and required elements in technical routines.
Thanks to the ability to close her nose in water, French synchro swimmer Virginie Dedieu performs without a nose clip and is able to stay underwater for a long time
Even being underwater, synchro swimmers hear music thanks to underwater speakers
Gelatin is used by synchronised swimmers to hold their hair in place during their routines
Swimmers execute lifts with only their body strength and are not allowed to use the pool bottom
In synchronised swimming, performing a routine takes up to 5 minutes while putting on waterproof makeup takes about an hour
Synchro swimmers stay afloat by sculling with their arms and kicking with their legs
Despite effort-consuming movements in water, synchro swimmers must keep a bright smile on their faces
The first edition of the FINA World Championships was held in 1973 in Yugoslavia under auspices of the International Swimming Federation (FINA). Its programme featured three synchronised swimming medal events: solo, duet and team.
Synchronised swimming became a Summer Olympic sport at Los Angeles 1984.
The history of Russian synchronised swimming dates back to 1961. The first national events – Championship and Cup of Moscow – took place in 1969.
Soviet athletes won multiple international championships. At the European Cup in 1986, the USSR team earned gold in the team event. Kristina Falasinidi took title at the 1989 European Championships. Olga Sedakova, Anna Kozlova and Gana Maksimova grabbed gold medals at the 1991 European Championship.
At present Russia boasts an array of legendary synchro swimmers, among them: five-time Olympic champion, thirteen-time world champion, seven-time European champion and winner of the World Cup and European Cup Anastasia Davydova; four-time Olympic champion, eight-time world champion and eight-time European champion Anastasia Ermakova; three-time Olympic champions Olga Brusnikina, Maria Kiseleva, Maria Gromova, Natalia Ishchenko, Svetlana Romashina, Elvira Khasyanova.
Most of the credit for Russia’s success in synchronised swimming belongs to head coach of the Russian national team, Merited Coach of Russia Tatyana Pokrovskaya and senior coach of the Russian duet team, Merited Coach of Russia Tatyana Danchenko. Using all their experience and expertise, these coaches raise gifted athletes to be Olympic champions.
Presently, synchronised swimming is being developed in 21 regions of the Russian Federation; dozens of children and youth sports schools and sports clubs are in operation.
The first synchronised swimming team was founded in 1987 in Naberezhnye Chelny, Tatarstan. Today there are two synchronised swimming schools in this city. One more club was launched in Nizhnekamsk in 2011. The Akvatika Republican Children and Youth Sports School was launched at the Aquatics Palace, Kazan in 2015. The school trains young athletes in three disciplines: diving, swimming and synchronised swimming.
Since 2008, three-time Olympic synchronised swimming champion Elvira Khasyanova has been representing two regions in the Russian national team: Moscow, where she was born and trains now, and Kazan, where her mother was born.
Ninel Kozhedub, the Merited Coach of Russia, is currently working in the Republic of Tatarstan.
Akvatika Republican Children and Youth Sports School (Kazan), Dolphin Children and Youth Sports School (Naberezhnye Chelny), Specialised Children and Youth Sports School of the Olympic Reserve No 12 (Naberezhnye Chelny)