London: As the world’s top Synchronised Swimming athletes take to the pool in the Duets today, and there are hopes that the sport will see a surge in popularity as it reaches a worldwide audience.
Synchronized Swimming is a hybrid form of swimming, dance and gymnastics, consisting of swimmers performing a synchronized routine of elaborate moves in the water, accompanied by music.
It demands advanced water skills, and requires great strength, endurance, flexibility, grace, artistry and precise timing, as well as exceptional breath control when upside down underwater.
At the turn of the 20th century, synchronized swimming was known as water ballet. The first recorded competition was in 1891 in Berlin, Germany.
While exclusively a sport performed by men in its first days, it quickly became a women’s sport because the nature of the physical movements are more suitable to the female physique in 1970.
Although it first time demonstrated at the 1952 Olympic Games. It did not become an official Olympic sport until the 1984 Summer Olympics games. It was not until 1968 that synchronized swimming became officially recognized by Federation International de Notation (FINA) as the fourth water sport next to swimming, platform diving and water polo.
From 1984 through 1992, the Summer Olympic Games featured solo and duet competitions, but they both were dropped in 1996 in favor of team competition. At the 2000 Olympic Games, however, the duet competition was restored and is now featured alongside the team competition.