Competitions of Artistic Swimming

Olympic Games & World Championships

The rules for both of these competitions are the same, except for the number of events each meet allows. Duet and team are the only two events allowed in the Olympics; the World Championships include solo, duet, team and combination. In either competition, both technical and free routines are required with the exception of the combination routine.

Junior Meets

At the junior level, athletes swim only free routines and perform figures instead of technical routines. The events in junior meets include solo, duet, (trio in some countries,) team and combo routines. All the competitors must do figures.

Novice, Intermediate, & Age Group

These three levels of synchro swimmers also do figures instead of technical routines. There are no limits on choreography in the free solo, duet, trio, or team routines, thought there are some required elements. The degree of difficulty of the figures and of the required elements in the routines increases from novice to intermediate to age group.

Scoring and Judging

Scores are given by the judges are on a scale from 0 to 10, in tenth-of-a-point increments. 10 is the perfect score.

In the figures event, judges evaluate design and control. The design of a figure is determined by the accuracy of the positions and the correctness of the transitions between those positions. Control includes extension, height, stability, and an even tempo.

Routine judges are always evenly divided into two categories. For free routines, half of them judge artistic impression and the other half judge technical merit. For technical routines, judges evaluate the performance based on execution and overall impression.

Artistic impression judges consider choreography, interpretation of music, and manner of presentation. Manner of presentation is evaluated on the appearance of capability and effortlessness. Technical merit judges evaluate execution, synchronization and the amount of difficulty.

For the technical routine, execution judges base 70% of their score on the technical elements alone and 30% on the rest of the routine. Overall impression judges evaluate choreography, synchronization, the amount of difficulty and the manner of presentation.

After all of the judges submit their routine scores, the high and low numbers are dropped. Then, the scores from each category are added together get the composite score. At some competitions, medals are awarded for technical routines and free routines, but usually both scores are combined for the final ranking.

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