Synchronized swimming has many names like Water Ballet, Synchro, and for the 2020 Olympics, Artistic Swimming. The swimmers make it look effortless, but in reality it’s one of the hardest sports out there! Imagine dancing and flipping while holding your breath under water. The swimmers in this sport need a lot of discipline, so they must follow several strict rules so they can remain on the team or possibly even get chosen for the Olympics.
Number 1: Swim and Train for 8 Hours a Day
Swimmers practice their skills and routines while holding their breath for long periods of time 6 days per week. Swimmers will spend 6 hours in the pool and 2 hours afterwards lifting weights, running, and cross training in order to stay strong and fit. The typical day for a synchronized swimmer is 30 minutes stretching and warming up, then moving to strength training like push-ups, sit-ups, and squats. Once they are ready for the pool, they are able to start with the style of their choice. They begin with floating on the water laying as flat and still as possible. Using skills like sculls, they are able to float and glide in the water. In the water they do figures, sailboats, bathtubs, ballet, and then boost all the skills they are required to learn. After that they finally practice breath control. This is the most important skill to have.
Number 2: Waterproof Makeup Is a Must
Swimmers must know about makeup for performances. They must wear many layers of a liquid called Aqua Seal which waterproofs all of their makeup underneath this seal. The makeup the swimmers wear underneath is very bold and colorful because it must be seen from a distance underneath the water.
Number 3: Avoid Kicks to the Head
More than half of swimmers get concussions just from getting kicked in the head during practices and performances. Unfortunately, this is a common and major problem for the sport. On television, swimmers look like they are 3 feet apart, but they are actually only 12 to 8 inches apart, making it much more of a possibility to get a concussion. The only reason why they are so close is to gain more points for being that close, but also they are able to do risker moves like throwing teammates in the air. Swimmers hesitate to say anything about getting kicked in the head because they are worried they will lose their spot on the team since these head injuries can take years to recover from.
Number 4: Hair Must Look Good at All Times
If swimmers don’t wear a decorated swim cap for performances, they have to be able to keep their hairstyle in place and looking good while in the water. The secret is they use a powdered gelatin called Knox, which is the same ingredient used to make jello and contains horse cartilage. They use this for every performance, but one negative is that it is a pain to get it out because it becomes a thick, gooey mess in the hair.
Number 5: Don’t Forget to Breathe
Swimmers describe their performances as having to run a sprint while holding their breath all the way through. During performances, swimmers move and flip upside down while holding their breath on and off for about 3 and a half minutes. Many parts of the routine require continuous breath-holding for one minute, but more complicated parts require breath to be held much longer. Some synchronized swimmers can hold their breath for up to 3 minutes. At the 3-minute mark it starts to become difficult to think because the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen. The average person can hold his breath for 30 seconds or up to 2 minutes if he is in excellent health.
Synchronized swimming may look easy to do, but there is so much hard work and discipline that goes on behind the scenes of every performance. If anyone says it looks like fun dancing around in water, all they need to do spend a day with a synchronized swimmer to realize that it is a sport with very athletic and dedicated team members.
Photo found: https://www.ocregister.com/2014/05/01/meraquas-of-irvine-synchronized-swim-team-has-history-of-producing-standout-athletes/