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The art of synchronized swimming is an amalgamation of swimming, dancing, gymnastics and coordinated routine in a flamboyant and elaborate manner in and under water. This sport is usually practised by women, and is part of the Olympics as well.
Synchronized swimming, formerly known as Water Ballet, was started in 1891, when the first recorded competitions were held in Berlin, Germany. The sport soon gained momentum around the world with Canada, USA and France taking it up and developing it further. The sport was held as an exhibition event in entertainment halls and theatres that had large water tanks on the stage.
It achieved mainstream popularity in 1933 when Kathryn Curtis organized a show, "The Modern Mermaids," in Chicago, which featured elaborate swimming routines; this was the first time the term 'Synchronized Swimming' was coined. Thanks to Hollywood, Synchronized Swimming gained momentum when Esther Williams, a national level American swimmer, starred in movies like Bathing Beauty and Million Dollar Mermaid.
How It Works
Elaborate hand gestures are the essential in Synchronized Swimming. The same goes for hand movements. Swimmers also incorporate different types of lifts in a flamboyant fashion with some light gymnastics to add flair to the performance. The performances last anywhere between two minutes to five minutes.
The scoring is based on the artistry the swimmers exhibit as well as the technicality involved in their routines. They are judged on a scale of 100 where 50 percent of the score is based on artistic impression and 50 percent on techniques.
Synchronized swimming was first exhibited in Olympics in 1952. But it became an official Olympic sport in 1984. Initially, solo and duet synchronized swimming competitions were held, but they were eventually dropped in favor of team competitions. Still, the duet competition made a comeback in 2000 and is held along with the team event.
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