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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.

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Gallery

Synchronized Swimming - Team Women
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Synchronized Swimming - Team Women

Team Russian Federation competes in the Synchronised Swimming Teams Free Routine on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Synchronized Swimming - Team Women
Image Alt Text

Synchronized Swimming - Team Women

Team Japan competes in the Synchronised Swimming Teams Free Routine on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Synchronized Swimming - Team Women
Image Alt Text

Synchronized Swimming - Team Women

Team of Russian Federation competes in the Synchronised Swimming Teams Free Routine on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Synchronized Swimming - Team Women
Image Alt Text

Synchronized Swimming - Team Women

Team of People's Republic of China competes in the Synchronised Swimming Teams Free Routine on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
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China start routine

London 2012 - Team China begin their routine in duets and finish second to advance to the final.
IOC/Jason Evans
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Korean sisters clinch last qualifying spot

London 2012 - Sisters Park Hyunha and Park Hyunsun of South Korea receive scores high enough to secure a place in the synchronized swimming duets final
IOC/Jason Evans
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