What is Synchronized Swimming?

Synchronized swimming combines elements of swimming, dance, and gymnastics. Synchronized swimmers develop specialized water skills, strength, endurance, flexibility, grace, artistry, timing, and team work.


The Coquitlam Sharks offer a basic program for those experiencing the sport for the first time as well as an advanced program for experienced synchronized swimmers. An evaluation will take place early in the season to place participants in the appropriate group. Skill development runs throughout the summer swim season with swimmers working on individual skills and team routines. Competitive events for individual skills, also called Figures, and Routines are held in July and August culminating in the Provincial Championships in mid August.


Practices are held a couple of times per week for each skill level. During May and June, we use Spani Pool for the majority of practices. Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex  is used on average once per week for practices during these months. In July and August we split time between Spani and Eagle Ridge Pools. See below for Pool Locations and Maps.


Synchronized Swimming Skills and Positions
Below are some of the Basic Skills and Positions you will see in Synchronized Swimming.


Basic Skills
Sculls are hand movements used to propel the body. They are the most essential part to synchronized swimming.


The eggbeater kick is another important skill of synchronized swimming. It is a form of treading water that allows for stability and height above the water while leaving the hands free to perform strokes. An average eggbeater height is usually around chest level. Using the eggbeater, swimmers can also perform “boosts”, where they use their legs to momentarily propel themselves out of the water to their hips or higher. “Eggbeater” is also a common movement found in water polo as well as the “pop-up” movement.


There are hundreds of different regular positions that can be used to create seemingly infinite combinations. These are a few basic and commonly used ones:
– Back Layout: The most basic position. The body floats, completely straight and rigid, face-up on the surface while sculling at the sides.
– Front Layout: Much like a Back Layout, the only difference is that the swimmer is on his/her stomach.
– 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.
– 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.


Synchronized Swimming Competition
A full competition consists of Figures and Routines. Figures are performed individually by each swimmer in front of a panel of judges. Each swimmer will perform a rotation of 4 figures. The figures are drawn from a list of “positions” (see below) known well in advance allowing the competitors ample time to practice. Scoring is on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest mark. Competitors wear a plain coloured bathing suit, plain cap and nose plugs if they chose. Goggles are not normally worn for Figures competitions.


In a Routine competition participants perform synchronized routines in the water accompanied by music. Routines can be performed by duets or teams of between 3 and 10 swimmers. Routines are composed of leg movements and arm or stroke sections. Swimmers are synchronized both to each other and to the music. Underwater speakers ensure that swimmers can hear the music at all times and also aid their ability to synchronize with each other.


During a routine, swimmers can never use the bottom of the pool for support, but rather depend on sculling motions with the arms, and eggbeater kick to keep afloat. Routines run for between 2 and 3 minutes depending on age and size of group. Athletes wear colourful bathing suits and can wear make up such as eye shadow, lipstick, and colour on their cheeks to accentuate the music and movements of their performance. Nose plugs are worn to keep water out of the nose when the swimmer is submerged.


After the Routine, the swimmers are judged and scored on their performance based on technical merit and artistic impression. Technical skill, patterns, expression, and synchronization are all critical to achieving a high score. Again scoring is on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest. There is one score given for the group.


To be eligible for competition swimmers must meet the following criteria:
A. Competitors must be affiliated with the BCSSA for the current season.
B. Only Recreational Synchro BC Swimmers may participate in BCSSA events.
C. All competitors must be registered on or before the registration deadline. This function is performed by the swim club on behalf of its athletes.
D. All competitors must compete in events at Regional Synchro Championships to be eligible for Provincial Championships. If a competition cannot be scheduled, a request for an exemption must be submitted to the President of BCSSA. Where an exemption is granted, competitors are responsible to put on a synchro demonstration or exhibition at Regionals to be eligible to compete at Provincials.


For more information on Synchronized Swimming with the Coquitlam Sharks please email us at info@coquitlamsharks.org.


We acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia