What is synchronized swimming?
Synchro is a hybrid water sport combining gymnastics, swimming, dance and so-ordination. You perform choreographed movements set to music (all genres), like a synchronized water ballet. Synchronized swimming can be done solo or in a team.
Who can take up synchro?
Anyone. It's very much a female sport, but absolutely anyone can take up synchro. You need to be in good health, because it requires a lot of cardio and respiratory strength and muscular energy.
When should you start?
The ideal age to take up synchro is between 6 and 10, as with most sports. But amateur synchro han be taken up at any age. Many doctors and personal trainers encourage women to take up synchro if they're looking to get back into sport. Most clubs will take anyone from 7 to 77!
How good a swimmer do you need to be?
You don't need to be a swimming champion to be good at synchro! However, you should be able to swim crawl, back and breast stroke in order to be able to do the training required and to be able to perform the movements. The basic requirements are demonstrating you can swim a width of the pool, being comfortable in the deep end of the pool and being comfortable putting your head under water.
Is is just for women?
Synchronized swimming is a traditionally female sport, but over the last few years men have been getting into it much more, especially in the US. With only women competing in the Olympics and other competitions, it's still very female dominated.
What does it do?
Synchronized swimming is a great all-round sport: it improves flexibility, strength (from supporting others), creativity and endurance. It requires a lot of concentration: you have to move in time to the music in sync, moving in all directions under the water.
What do you need to get started?
A one-piece swimming costume and a nose clip if necessary. Some top swimmers don't use nose clips, but most swimmers wear them to stop water going up their noses.
What does it do for your body?
Synchronized swimming sculpts your body and gives you a perfect body. You learn to be graceful and elegant of movement, while working in a team and co-ordinating routines to music is good for the soul. Synchro is fitness and well-being all rolled into one!
There must be drawbacks, surely?!
If you're very sporty and used to rigorous exercise you might find that, at an amateur level, synchro isn't as intense as you'd like.