Guide to Olympic Synchronised Swimming

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Welcome to our armchair guide to synchronised swimming at the Olympics. You’ll find insights from top GB synchronised swimmers, an Olympic synchronised swimming jargon buster, Olympic synchronised swimming facts at a glance, an Olympic synchronised swimming timeline, and a ones-to-watch calendar so you can plan your Olympic viewing from your tablet.


Looking for an introduction to synchronised swimming for the Olympics? Then let our athlete and videos guide you.


  • Swimmers hear their music through underwater speakers and wear clips to stop water going up their noses while upside down.
  • Synchronised swimming only became an Olympic event in 1984 at the Los Angeles games when competitions in solo and duet were first held.
  • All competitors performed an individual 'figures' routine at the start of the Games which would be combined with their 'musical' routine score for both the qualifying and the final.
  • In the duet at the 1984 Games, the two swimmers' figures' scores would be averaged to produce their total. They would then perform the musical routine in qualifying and the final as with the solo event.
  • Swimmers now perform a 'technical' routine consisting of pre-determined elements in a specific order. They then perform a 'free' routine where they aim to show creativity and difficulty in an original and longer routine.
  • Athletes from only three nations - USA, Canada and Russia - have won synchronised swimming gold. Russia are now the most dominant force, having won duet and team gold from the past three Games.


Planning a little TV or internet time watching the Olympics? Then use our calendar to help you find the synchro events that interest you.

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