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From its origins as water ballet in the late 19th century, Synchronised Swimming has come a long way to its present form. The art of looking graceful and keeping in time to the music all while treading water is often likened to the physical demands of running a mile while holding your breath. The rhythm and flair demonstrated by the swimmers makes for an entertaining display of strength, athleticism and skill.
The increased popularity of modern Synchronised Swimming is largely thanks to Annette Kellerman, an Australian athlete, who performed underwater in a glass tank at the New York Hippodrome. The sport’s popularity began to rise soon afterwards. The first Synchronised Swimming competitions started in the 1930s, before making its Olympic debut in Los Angeles in 1984.
On the world stage, European nations consistently perform strongly and find themselves on the podium: At the 2014 World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships, held in Helsinki, Russia took three gold medals and one silver across the four events.
The new Baku Aquatics Centre will play host to the discipline of Synchronised Swimming which commences on 12 June 2015 and features four medal events. The five days of competition will see 150 junior athletes gather in Baku to showcase their talent and attempt to win gold. Medals will be available across solo, duet, team and free combination events.
Qualification places for Synchronised Swimming will consist of direct qualification from the last two European Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships, a qualification tournament, host NOC allocation and universality.
Facts and figures
- Around two-thirds of a synchronised swimming routine is performed under water –which can mean athletes have to hold their breath for up to three minutes in each performance.
- Russia have dominated at the last 3 (2009, 2011, 2013) junior European Championships, winning gold in all 4 medal events; Solo, Duet, Team and Combination. Making them an undeniable force in Synchronised Swimming.
- Synchronised swimmers wear food gelatine in their hair to keep it set in place throughout the routines. They also will wear elaborate costumes to compliment the music and interpretation of the routine theme, these can cost in excess of 500 manat per costume.