Artistic (Synchronised) Swimming involves swimmers performing figures to music. Despite the seemingly effortless performance this sport is quite demanding. Competitors, who usually train 7-8 hours a day, need strength and flexibility to perform twists and lifts as well as rhythm and flair to synchronise and interpret the music, which they can hear through underwater loudspeakers.
Routines may last from two to four minutes, depending on whether they compete in solo or team. Swimmers in solo, duet, team and mixed duet events are required to perform technical and/or free routines. Technical routines involve compulsory elements that must be executed in a specific order. Free routines have no requirements so swimmers can be ‘free’ in how creative they get with choreography and music. The Free Combination Routine is a combination of solo, duet, trio and team parts performed by no more than 10 swimmers. Highlights Routine as a new event were introduced to give space for numerous acrobatic movements and to provide entertainment by showing a float to give a kaleidoscopic effect.
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 execution 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. No athletes are permitted to touch the bottom of the pool during a routine, especially when lifting one another.