Synchronised swimming is back in vogue

SWIMMING: Synchronised swimming has long been the butt of sarcastic jokes in the sporting world, but nonetheless, it still maintains a huge and very competitive following.

By Debbie Watson

SWIMMING

SYNCHRONISED swimming has long been the butt of sarcastic jokes in the sporting world, but nonetheless, it still maintains a huge and very competitive following.

And, over next few weeks, its reputation could well be enhanced even further – thanks to a new synchro initiative being launched in Ipswich.

Clubs for this particular watersport have been in relatively short supply in the East Anglian region over recent years.

Several of the major county swimming clubs ran specialist synchro squads throughout the 80s and 90s, but many of these disappeared from the local aquatics scene due to lack of interest.

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However, interest has obviously reared its head again in Ipswich because Friday September 6 will mark the first day of a new regular session at Fore Street pool.

The arrival of synchro adds to the region's particularly successful existing list of aquatic sports.

Already Suffolk boasts impressive teams in swimming (with its reputation made even more special by the recent Commonwealth performances of Karen Pickering), waterpolo, octopush, life-saving and snorkelling.

The availability of aqua fitness classes has also been improved throughout the region, with classes available for all levels and ages.

Originally known as water ballet, synchronised swimming began in Canada in the 1920s.

It became an exhibition sport at the Olympic Games in 1948 and remained a fixture in the Olympic calendar until 1968.

The major breakthrough for fans and participants of synchro came much more recently – in 1984 – when it debuted as a full medal Olympic sport in Los Angeles.

The sport remains open only to women, with medals offered in two events: duet and team.

The judging for synchronised swimming is very much like the standard judging procedure for figure skating, with two panels of five judges assessing a performance.

The first panel is required to score technical merit and the other to assess artistic impression. In both cases, each judge awards a mark out of a possible 10.

To find out more about the synchronised swimming sessions, please call Fore Street Pool on Ipswich 433668.

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