Routines are composed of “figures” (leg movements), arm sections and highlights. Swimmers are synchronized both to each other and to the music. During a routine swimmers can never use the bottom of the pool for support, but rather depend on sculling motions with the arms, and eggbeater kick to keep afloat. After the performance, the swimmers are judged and scored on their performance based on execution, artistic impression, and difficulty. Execution of technical skill, difficulty, patterns, choreography, and synchronization are all critical to achieving a high score.
Technical vs. free routines
Depending on the competition level, swimmers will perform a “technical” routine with predetermined elements that must be performed in a specific order. The technical routine acts as a replacement for the figure event. In addition to the technical routine, the swimmers will perform a longer “free” routine, which has no requirements and is a chance for the swimmers to get creative and innovative with their choreography.
Length of routines
The type of routine and competition level determines the length of routines. Routines typically last two to four minutes, the shortest being the technical solo, with length added as the number of swimmers is increased (duets, teams, combos and highlight). Age and skill level are other important factors in determining the required routine length.
Routines are scored on a scale of 100, with points for execution, artistic impression, and difficulty. In group routines a group consists of 8 competitors for World Championships and FINA events, each missing participant brings penalty points to the team. A group can consist of a minimum of 4 competitors and a maximum of 10 (for Free Combination and Highlight).
A standard meet begins with the swimmers doing “figures”, which are progressions between positions performed individually without music. All swimmers must compete wearing the standard black swimsuit and white swimcap, as well as goggles and a noseclip. Figures are performed in front of a panel of 5 judges who score individual swimmers from 1 to 10 (10 being the best). The figure competition prefaces the routine events.
Synchronized Swimmers from Aruba in the Olympics
Nicole Hoevertsz (born 30 May 1964) is a former synchronized swimmer from Aruba as part of the Netherlands Antilles in 1984 competed in both the women’s solo and the women’s duet competitions at the 1984 Summer Olympics.