In our Pan American Games, it will mark an important milestone in its practice, because starting from 2023, it wil allow the participation of up to 2 male athletes in their teams. Athletes do extraordinary feats of strength, flexibility, and stamina. Even while performing acrobatics perfectly choreographed, athletes make prolonged apneas at different moments of the routines combined with acrobatics, jumps, technical elements, and hybrids that are evaluated according to the different degrees of difficulty.

In the picture, two female swimmers coordinated with the same pose to enter the water.

History of this sport

The first records of the practice of Artistic Swimming or Synchronized Swimming date back to 1891 in Berlin, Germany. During those years, several clubs were created to practice the sport and it spread to countries such as Australia, Canada, the United States, Germany, Spain, and France. In the beginning, it was considered a men's sport, but it quickly became a purely feminine discipline, until a few years ago, when it became a mixed discipline.

As a historical fact, in the early 20th century, Annette Kellerman, an Australian swimmer, toured the United States performing water acrobatics. Her shows were very popular and, as a result, the sport was born.

Artistic Swimming became an Olympic sport for the first time at Los Angeles 1984, with individual and duet events. These events were also held at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games and at the Barcelona 1992 Games. Atlanta replaced the individual competition in 1996 with teams of eight athletes, but since the 2000 Olympic Games, the Olympic program has included duet and team events.

This competition was admitted to the Pan American Games in the second edition at Mexico City 1955. Since then, it has been part of all the Games, except for Chicago 1959 and Winnipeg 1967.

As of 2023, 2 males will be allowed to participate in teams and at Paris 2024 will be part of the Olympic program in this modality.

The Pan American medal count is led by the U.S. delegation, which has won a total of 38 medals, including 27 gold medals.

In the picture, two female swimmers coordinated with the same pose to enter the water.

How do you compete?

Competitions in duet and teams are divided into two parts: technical routine and free routine, in the case of the teams, the acrobatic routine is added. Judges score technique, synchronization, difficulty, acrobatics, grace, finesse, and artistic creativity in performing choreography to music in all routines. Strength, height, and artistic expression in performing each figure or technical element are also scored.

The scoring system reaches up to 10 points, this being the maximum and perfect score for each judge. However, there are certain penalties that may be assessed for showing signs of fatigue, not showing grace or smiles, and leaning on the edges or bottom of the pool.

Each team completes three routines: the technical routine, which must include several previously declared technical elements and last a maximum of two minutes and 50 seconds; the free routine, which takes three minutes and 30 seconds; and the acrobatic routine with three minutes. Duets perform the technical routines in two minutes and 20 seconds and the free routine in two minutes and 45 seconds. The routines are performed to music. Performances are graded on synchronization, difficulty, technique, elements, and choreography.

Athletes wear swimsuits that are practically works of art, as well as waterproof makeup. The two forms of artistic swimming at the Olympic level are the duet event and the team event.

The competition pool must be three meters deep, 20 meters wide, and 30 meters long.


How are artistic swimming competitions played on the Olympic circuit?

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Information for the community

On the Instagram profile Artswimchile you can find information about the Chilean National Artistic Swimming Team. You can follow the competitions in which they participate and the various categories in which they compete.
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