skip to content
Synchronized

Women



Artistic Swimming is a relatively new discipline that has its origins in water acrobatics. It is hugely popular in the United States.

Glass tank performer

At the turn of the 20th century, Annette Kellerman, an Australian swimmer, toured the United States performing water acrobatics. Her shows proved very popular and a sport was born.

Performing with music

The sport was developed further by Katherine Curtis, who had the idea of combining water acrobatics with music. Her students performed at the 1933-34 Chicago "Century of Progress" Fair, where the announcer, former Olympic swimming gold medallist Norman Ross, coined the term "synchronised swimming".

Hollywood glamour

Synchronised swimming was later popularised by American film star Esther Williams, who performed water ballet in several American movies. The competitive aspect was developed around the same time when Frank Havlicek, a student of Katherine Curtis, drew up a set of rules.

Olympic history

A relatively recent discipline, synchronised swimming became an Olympic sport for the first time in Los Angeles in 1984, with solo and duet events. These events also took place at the Olympic Games in 1988 in Seoul and in 1992 in Barcelona. Atlanta replaced them in 1996 by a water ballet for eight people. Since the 2000 Olympic Games, the Olympic programme has included the team event and the duet. 
Alongside rhythmic gymnastics, synchronised swimming is the only exclusively female Olympic sport.

More
More


Gallery

Image Alt Text

Forming a “W”

London 2012 - DPR Korea’s duet form a “W” while sculling under water.
IOC/Jason Evans
Image Alt Text

Mexico up and happy

London 2012 - Team Mexico achieve excellent elevation out of the water and wear genuine smiles during the duets qualifying round.
IOC/Jason Evans
Image Alt Text

US bring the torch to the finals

London 2012 - Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva perform their “Olympic Torch” duets routine and secure spot #11 of 12 for the final.
IOC/Jason Evans
Image Alt Text

Warming up upside down

London 2012 - Synchronized swimmers spend much of their time upside down underwater. Here team Italy warms up for duets.
IOC/Jason Evans
Image Alt Text

Swiss miss

London 2012 - The Swiss synchronized swimming duet perform well, but finish outside the top twelve and do not advance to the final free routine.
IOC/Jason Evans
Image Alt Text

That’s entertainment

London 2012 - Kazakhstan’s routine followed a show business theme.
IOC/Jason Evans
More

back to top Fr