Aim of the game
Essentially pool-based gymnastics, teams of swimmers perform choreographed moves on and under the water to a musical soundtrack, with judges giving scores based on a wide range of criteria
Why should you watch this?
This is both spectacle and sport, combining dance and swimming in perfectly timed, astonishingly graceful rhythmic movements, whilst demanding huge levels of stamina and lung capacity
Identical moves made by each of the swimmers in sequence
Rising rapidly out of the water head first
Floating on the back with one leg raised perpendicular to the surface of the water
Impress your friends
Despite being an exclusively female discipline, it was men who first performed acrobatics in the water at the end of the 19th century
Women gradually took over the sport, their lighter frames enabling them to make more intricate moves
Russia confirmed its dominance of the sport by winning both golds at London 2012 – since Sydney 2000, Russians have won every synchronised swimming Olympic gold medal available
One of the symbols of Russian dominance is Svetlana Romashina, owner of three Olympic golds – and she will be just 26 at Rio 2016
Twins Karen and Sarah Josephson (USA) and Penny and Victoria Vilagos (Canada) won gold and silver at Barcelona 1992 – Brazilian twins Bia and Branca Feres also compete together
Women swimmers have to leave vanity in the changing room, with make-up and hairstyles strictly regulated and swimming costumes worn rather than bikinis, not to mention the nose-clips
Swimmers perform two routines, one that is more technically challenging and based on a list of compulsory moves, and another with few restrictions, assessed purely on choreography, interpretation and skill.
Technical routines: duets can last 2 minutes and 20 seconds, whereas the teams have 2 minutes and 50 seconds.
Free routine: duets can last three minutes, while teams have four minutes.
For team performances, each country must register nine swimmers, but only eight will take part in the competition.
At the end of each performance, three panels of judges assess the swimmers’ technical and artistic abilities. The highest and lowest marks are discarded and the remainder added together to arrive at the routine’s final score. Adding together the marks for the two routines gives the final score.
Points are lost for taking too long to get into the pool, touching the bottom and not completing the compulsory moves in the technical routine.
The pool is fitted with speakers so that the swimmers can hear the music, even under water.
Athletes & Teams
|16 - 20||22|
|21 - 25||49|
|26 - 30||25|
|31 - 40||4|
- Anna-Maria AlexandriWomenAUT
- Anita AlvarezWomenUSA
- Alzbeta DufkovaWomenCZE
- Anastasia Gloushkov LeventhalWomenISR
- Aika HakoyamaWomenJPN
- Aiko HayashiWomenJPN
- Alexandra NemichWomenKAZ
- Aleksandra PatskevichWomenRUS
- Anastasiya SavchukWomenUKR
- Alla ShishkinaWomenRUS
- Amie ThompsonWomenAUS
- Anna VoloshynaWomenUKR