What is Artistic Swimming?
Artistic swimming (formerly known as synchronized swimming) is a sport requiring overall body strength and agility, grace and beauty, split-second timing, musical interpretation, and dramatic flair. It is a unique sport in which power, strength, and technical skill are displayed in an artistically choreographed piece. The competitive rules and manner of judging of artistic swimming are similar to its counterparts, figure skating, and gymnastics.
There are four events in artistic swimming: solo, duet, team (four to eight swimmers), and combination (eight to ten swimmers). In addition to these routine events, each competitor must participate in the compulsory figure competition. The scores earned in this event are added to those of the routine competition to determine each event's winners.
To perform a strenuous routine while maintaining an effortless appearance is a very difficult and important quality that is expected by the judges. To understand the physical demands and endurance needed to perform the 3 1/2 to 5 minute routines, consider running while holding your breath for lengths of time up to 30 seconds. The routines demonstrate what has made this sport so popular with audiences. Much of the appeal is found in the use of music to demonstrate the athlete's skills, technique, and creativity.
Some Competition Basics
The first year may be spent learning basic skills and techniques. As the swimmer develops muscle control and grace, confidence will be built through team identity and competitive experience.
Artistic swimming meets are held approximately once a month, beginning in December. Competitions are divided into 5 different levels:
Novice - first year swimmers
Intermediates - usually second or third-year swimmers who are still building their skills
Age Group - athletes who are eligible to compete at all local, regional and national competitions
Junior - athletes age 15-18 years old who wish to compete at a higher level
Senior - 19 year-old athletes
Rocky Mountain Splash competes at all local, regional, zone and national levels. Local meets are held throughout Colorado, while regional, zone and national meets are held throughout the country. In meets, the first, second, and third place winners qualify to attend the next level of competition. The more skilled a swimmer becomes, the greater opportunity there is for travel.
Artistic swimming meets include figure and routine competition. In figure competition, each swimmer is required to perform a compulsory set of moves before a panel of judges. In routine competition, groups of swimmers perform routines to music and are judged based on the difficulty of the routine, synchronization, and their artistic impression.