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IGLA Synchro Teams

A Contre-Courant Synchro – Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Breathless Synchro – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Paris Aquatique – Paris, France

San Francisco Tsunami Swimming – San Francisco, California, USA

IGLA Synchro

Synchronized Swimming (“Synchro”) debuted as an IGLA sport at the 2000 IGLA Championships in Paris, France hosted by Paris Aquatique.

During synchro competitions athletes perform a synchronized routine of elaborate moevs in the water set to music. These routines are performed as solos, duets, trios, combos, or teams.

Synchro combines swimming, gymnastics and dance that is – as a result synchro is a discipline that requires swimmming skills, strength, endurance as well as flexibility, artistry, rhythm and timing, and of course, breath control. The swimmers perform two routines for a panel of judges, one technical and one free.

Technical and Free Routines

During the technical routine synchro athletes perform a routine with predetermined elements performed in a specific order. The free routine is longer than the technical routine. It has no presetermined requirements and athletes use this routine to demonstrate their creativity and athleticism with their choreography.

The routines include hybrids (leg movement) and arm or stroke sections. Synchros swimmers are synchronized to each other and the music. During a routine swimmers are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool, but must depend on the sculling motion of their arms or the eggbeater kick to keep afloat – including when performing lifts and throws.

Swimmers are judged on their performance based on technical skill, patterns, expression and synchronization. Routines are scored on a scale of 100 with points for both artistic impression and technical merit.

Postitions

There are hundreds of regular positions that can used by synchro athletes to create inumerable combinations. Below are some more common positions that are often used by synchro swimmers during competition:

  • Back Layout: The most basic position. The body floats, completely straight and rigid, face-up on the surface while sculling under the hips.
  • Front Layout: Much like a Back Layout, the only difference is that the swimmer is on his/her stomach, sculling by his/her chest, and not breathing.
  • Sailboat/Bent Knee: Similar to the back layout, but one knee is bent with the toe touching the inside of the other leg, which remains parallel to the surface.
  • Ballet Leg: Beginning in a back layout, one leg is extended and held perpendicular to the body, while the other is held parallel to the surface of the water.
  • Flamingo: Similar to ballet leg position where bottom leg is pulled into the chest so that the shin of the bottom leg is touching the knee of the vertical leg.
  • Vertical: Achieved by holding the body completely straight upside down and perpendicular to the surface usually with both legs entirely out of water.
  • Crane: While holding a vertical body position, one leg remains vertical while the other is dropped parallel to the surface, making a 90-degree angle or “L” shape.
  • Bent Knee: While holding a vertical body position, one leg remains vertical while the other leg bends so that its toe is touching the knee of the vertical leg.
  • Split position: With the body vertical, one leg is stretched forward along the surface and the other extended back along the surface.
  • Knight: The body is in a surface arch position, where the legs are flat on the surface, and the body is arched so that the head is vertically in line with the hips. One leg is lifted, creating a vertical line perpendicular to the surface.
  • Side Fishtail: Side fishtail is a position similar to a crane. One leg remains vertical, while the other is extended out to the side parallel to the water, creating a side “Y” position.

Lifts

Like the positions above, lifts are similarly technical and require skill and strength to complete. Members of the team use their feet and legs to propel their teammates relatively high out of the water to accomplish the lift.

A lift has three essential parts in synchronized swimming: The top (or “flyer”), the base, and the pushers.

Flyers must be agile and flexible, with a preferable gymnastics background if they are jumping off the lift.

Base synchro swimmers should have good leg strength and a solid core (when performing a platform lift, a strong core is essential).

Pushers are usually the bigger, stronger members of the team and are evenly spaced around the lift.

The Platform Lift oldest form. In a platform, the base lays out in a back layout position underwater. The top sets in a squatting position on her torso and stands once the lift reaches the surface. The remaining teammates use eggbeater to hold the platform and the top out of the water.

The Stack Lift is a more modern version of the platform. The base sets up in a squatting position a few feet underwater, with the pushers holding her legs and feet. The top then climbs onto the shoulders of the base. As the lift rises, pushers extend their arms while the base and top extend their legs to achieve maximum height. A common addition to a stack lift is a rotation while it descends.

A Throw Lift is set up exactly like a stack lift. However, when the lift reaches its full height, the “flyer” on top of the lift will jump off of her teammate’s shoulders, usually performing some sort of acrobatic movement or position. This is a very difficult lift and should only be attempted by experienced swimmers.

IGLA Championships are among the very few competitions that allow men and women to compete with each other in Synchro. Olympic and World Championships are not open to men, but men are allowed to compete with women by USA Synchro and Synchro Canada. Most European countries allow men to compete as well.