Rules to play synchronized swimming

Sculls
1. Sculls (hand movements used to propel the body) are the most essential part to synchronized swimming. Commonly used sculls include support scull, stationary scull, propeller scull, alligator scull, torpedo scull, split arm scull, barrel scull, and paddle scull. The support scull is used most often to support the body while a swimmer is performing upside down. Support scull is performed by holding the upper arms against the sides of the body and the lower arms at 90 degree angles to the body, with hands facing the bottom of the pool. The lower arms are then moved back and forth while maintaining the right angle. The resulting pressure against the hands allows the swimmer to hold their legs above water while swimming. Other sculls used in training include propeller and reverse propeller. .....
Eggbeater
2. The eggbeater kick is another important skill of synchronized swimming. It is a form of treading water that allows for stability and height above the water while leaving the hands free to perform strokes. An average eggbeater height is usually around chest level. Eggbeater is used in all arm sections, a piece of coreography in which the swimmer is upright, often with one or both arms in the air. Another variation is a boost, which is executed through an eggbeater buildup and a strong whip kick, propelling the swimmer out of the water vertically. Eggbeating for a considerable period is also referred to as an aquabob and is used to build propulsion under water prior to a boost or pop up. .....
Lifts
3. A lift is when members of the team propel another teammate relatively high out of the water. They are quite common in routines of older age groups and higher skill levels. There are many variations on lifts, often dubbed highlights. These can include partner lifts, float patterns or other areas of unique, artistic choreography intended to impress the judges and audience. .....
Parts of a successful lift
4. There are three parts to every lift in synchronized swimming The top (or flyer), the base, and the pushers.

The Flyer is usually the smallest member of the team. Flyers must be agile and flexible, with a preferable gymnastics background if they are jumping off the lift.The Chair or The Plank tends to be of average size. She should have good leg strength and a solid core (when performing a platform lift, a strong core and length is essential).The rest of the team will be underneath the chair or plank. They are usually strong and powerful, as their job is to support the Chair/Plank and supply the force needed for the flyer to execute her job. .....

Types of lifts
5. The Platform Lift oldest form. In a platform, the base lays out in a back layout position underwater. The top sets in a squatting position on her torso and stands once the lift reaches the surface. The remaining teammates use eggbeater to hold the platform and the top out of the water. The Stack Lift is a more modern version of the platform. The base sets up in a squatting position a few feet underwater, with the pushers holding her legs and feet. The top then climbs onto the shoulders of the base. As the lift rises, pushers extend their arms while the base and top extend their legs to achieve maximum height. A common addition to a stack lift is a rotation while it descends. A Throw Liftis set up exactly like a stack lift. However, when the lift reaches its full height, the flyer on top of the lift will jump off of her teammates shoulders, usually performing some sort of acrobatic movement or position. This is a very difficult lift and should only be attempted by experienced swimmers. .....
Back Layout
6. The most basic position. The body floats, completely straight and rigid, face up on the surface while sculling under the hips. .....
Front Layout
7. Much like a Back Layout, the only difference is that the swimmer is on his/her stomach, sculling by his/her chest, and not breathing. .....
Sailboat
8. Similar to the back layout, but one knee is bent with the toe touching the inside of the other leg, which remains parallel to the surface. .....
Ballet Leg
9. Beginning in a back layout, one leg is extended and held perpendicular to the body, while the other is held parallel to the surface of the water. .....
Flamingo
10. Similar to ballet leg position where bottom leg is pulled into the chest so that the shin of the bottom leg is touching the knee of the vertical leg. .....
Vertical
11. Achieved by holding the body completely straight upside down and perpendicular to the surface usually with both legs entirely out of water. .....
Crane
12. While holding a vertical body position, one leg remains vertical while the other is dropped parallel to the surface, making a 90 degree angle or L shape. .....
Bent Knee
13. While holding a vertical body position, one leg remains vertical while the other leg bends so that its toe is touching the knee of the vertical leg. .....
Split position
14. With the body vertical, one leg is stretched forward along the surface and the other extended back along the surface. .....
Knight
15. The body is in a surface arch position, where the legs are flat on the surface, and the body is arched so that the head is vertically in line with the hips. One leg is lifted, creating a vertical line perpendicular to the surface. .....
Side Fishtail
16. Side fishtail is a position similar to a crane. One leg remains vertical, while the other is extended out to the side parallel to the water, creating a side Y position. .....
Routine
17. Routines are composed of figures (leg movements) and arm or stroke sections. They often incorporate lifts or throws, an impressive move in which a group of swimmers lift or throw another swimmer out of the water. Swimmers are synchronized both to each other and to the music. During a routine swimmers can never use the bottom of the pool for support, but rather depend on sculling motions with the arms, and eggbeater kick to keep afloat. After the performance, the swimmers are judged and scored on their performance based on technical merit and artistic impression. Technical skill, patterns, expression, and synchronization are all critical to achieving a high score. .....
Technical vs free routines
18. Depending on the competition level, swimmers will perform a technical routine with predetermined elements that must be performed in a specific order. The technical routine acts as a replacement for the figure event, and is usually used only in senior and collegiate level meets. In addition to the technical routine, the swimmers will perform a longer free routine, which has no requirements and is a chance for the swimmers to get creative and innovative with their choreography. .....
Length of routines
19. The type of routine and competition level determines the length of routines. Routines typically last two and a half to five minutes long, the shortest being solos, with length added as the number of swimmers are increased (duets, trios, teams, and combos). Age and skill level are other important factors in determining the required routine length. .....
Scoring
20. Routines are scored on a scale of 100, with points for both artistic impression and technical merit. The artistic mark is worth 50% of the total and the technical mark is worth 50%. .....
Preparation
21. When performing routines in competition and practice, competitors wear a rubber noseclip to keep water from entering their nose when submerged. Some swimmers wear ear plugs to keep the water out of their ears. Hair is worn in a bun and flavorless gelatin, Knox, is applied to keep hair in place; a decorative headpiece is bobby pinned to the bun. Occasionally, swimmers wear custom made swimming caps in place of their hair in buns.

Competitors wear custom swimsuits and headpieces, usually elaborately decorated with bright fabric and sequins to reflect the music to which they are swimming. The costume and music are not judged (but marks will be taken off if the headpiece falls off any swimmer while she is swimming the routine) but factor into the overall performance and artistic impression. Heavy eye makeup is often worn to help portray the emotions involved with the routine; it helps to accentuate the eyes of each swimmer. (This makeup style is often the center of criticism and ridicule. Some argue that it shows a lack of taste and minimizes the athleticism of the sport. Other artistic sports, such as gymnastics and ice skating, do not employ the same makeup practices.)

Underwater speakers ensure that swimmers can hear the music and aid their ability to synchronize with each other. Routines are prepared and set to counts in the music, to further ensure synchronization. Coaches use underwater speakers to communicate with the swimmers during practice. Goggles, though worn during practice, are not permitted during routine competition. .....

Injuries
22. In their book 2012 Concussions and Our Kids, Dr. Robert Cantu and Mark Hyman reported that Dr. Bill Moreau, who serves as medical director for the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), reported that during a two week training session in Colorado Springs about a dozen women athletes participating suffered a 50% concussion rate. Dr. Moreau noted, These women are superior athletes. Theyre in the pool eight hours a day. Literally, theyre within inches of one another, sculling and paddling. As they go through their various routines, theyre literally kicking each other in the head. As a result, the USOC initiated a process of reassessing concussion awareness and prevention for all sports. Dr. Moreau says that many athletes in non collision sports arent thinking about head injury and dont know theyve had concussions. .....
Competition events
23. There are four main categories of competition

Solos (where an individual swimmer will synchronise with the music). Duets (where a swimmer co ordinates with their partner and in time to the music). Teams (where the swimmer co ordinates with up to seven other athletes and in time to the music). Combo (a team routine where up to ten swimmers perform in one continuous routine but during the routine there will be segments where different numbers of swimmers will perform. Teams normally contain eight swimmers, but the minimum number for a team is four. Teams lose marks for every swimmer they have under the full complement because it is easier to synchronise the less people there are in a routine! Currently, only the duet and team competitions are included in the Olympic Games (although the Solo competition featured in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympics)

In most senior competitions, swimmers will perform two routines for the judges, one technical and one 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 the movements and their choreography.

There are also competitions called Figures for junior swimmers where they perform set movements to the judges. There is no music and this is simply a case of how well the individual performs the movements. .....

Positions and movements
24. Synchronised swimming is based on a number of basic positions and transitions.. These include the obvious ones, such as performing a figure on the front or back or from a vertical position, to the more technical ones such as the flamingo position, where one leg is straight and the other is bent in the same kind of shape as a flamingo, hence the name!

There are also certain movements that swimmers can perform in many different ways, so for example a swimmer can spin in the water but this can be spinning 180degrees or moving their entire body for one rotation (360 degrees).

Or with the Flamingo position there is a way to move the leg into the bend position and a way to get out of the move. Learn more about Figure Descriptions.

There is an internationally recognised list of figures provided by FINA, the sports world wide governing body. All figures are given a category and a tariff. So a single ballet leg (one leg out of the water stretched upwards) has a lower rating of 1.6, while a spiral (where a swimmer will lift both legs out of the water to hip height and perform two full twists , followed by a Vertical Descent) has a rating of 3.5.

There are also a few figures that are part of the synchronised swimming stages of the ASAs National Plan for Teaching Swimming but are not recognised by FINA. These have been designed to introduce young swimmers to the basic movements of synchro. .....

Music
25. Music is integral to Synchronised Swimming. In the solo event it is all the swimmer has to synchronise with and swimmers in the duet and team routines must sychronise to each other and the music. The choice of music is not judged but it will support the theme of the piece or may have even inspired the theme in the first place. The choreography and performance will be expected to mirror the tempo of the music in its speed. In synchronised swimming competitions there will be speakers underneath the water so swimmers can continue to hear the music clearly. Music actually carries better under the water than it does on land and so swimmers should be able to hear the music better when they are submerged. .....
Costumes and make up
26. Synchronised swimmers will often have elaborate costumes. These costumes are used to highlight or emphasise the theme of the music. Costumes are not judged and so should not affect the scores. If a head dress falls off one of the athletes in the British team, they get a fine because experienced athletes should ensure everything is securely fastened. Synchronised swimmers also wear make up. The make up will be used to highlight the swimmers features so it is easier for the judges to interpret their facial expressions. It should not be so theatrical that it is distracting. .....
Training
27. Competitive synchronised swimmers must be extremely fit, and completely at home in the water. When tested and compared with other Olympic athletes the results showed that synchronised swimmers ranked second only to long distance runners in aerobic capacity.In order to achieve the standard needed for competition, athletes must train with speed swimmers in distance work as well as complete sessions that are devoted to working on technical skills such as the set body positions and transition movements that form the basis of synchro. .....
Equipment
28. Nose clips are required to help the competitors stay underwater for periods of time and prevent water from entering their noses. Swimming suits should not be transparent or distasteful. Waterproof makeup is used to complement the routine and gelatine helps keep the hair tidy and in place. Goggles and jewellery are not permitted. Water temperature must be at 26 degrees, give or take 1 degree. .....
Time limits
29. Competitors have
30 seconds to walk to the deck.
2 minutes to perform the individual technical routine.
2 minutes and 20 seconds to perform the duet technical routine.
3 minutes to perform the individual free routine.
3 minutes and 30 seconds to perform the duet free routine. .....
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