Synchro Stories

Reading Royals

A collection of extracts and links to articles and videos on synchro......

"These girls mimic one another’s movements so exactly it looks as if one of them is performing in front of a mirror.

It’s all very beautiful, too. Not so much Cirque du Soleil as Cirque de l’Eau with sequinned costumes straight from Vegas and waterproof make-up applied with a trowel for theatrical effect. Goggles are not allowed, even if they could fit over the mountain of mascara".

         Reporter Des Kelly's article HERE

Daily Mail reporter trying to get to grips with synchro having seen the tech duet swims at London 2012

"It is late morning on a Tuesday in January and I am poolside at the Garrison Sports Centre in Aldershot which, as well as providing sporting facilities for the Army, has been the home of Great Britain’s elite synchronised swimming squad since 2007.

Thirteen pairs of flip-flops, 13 sports bottles and the odd muesli-filled Tupperware box line the water’s edge."

The Telegraph visits Aldershot pre-2012

"What is it like, working so intensely with seven other young women? They're like sisters. We normally get on really well. There are times when we have little disputes between us, but that's only because we want to all do our best; we all have a lot of passion."

Gemma Menguel.......

Even though she led her team to only one gold medal at the 2009 World Championships in Shanghai, she is still proud of her accomplishments. Mengual states, “There are still some things I have not achieved. I have never won an Olympic gold, but that’s life.”

“In the team events we can come up with choreography that is very original and beautiful and eye-catching but technically, at the level of execution, the Russians are light years ahead.” Although artistic impression is critical in scoring, routines with better technical elements will always win"

Here is the Spain 2009 Team Gold (in fact in the sunshine of Rome not Shanghai,  as the article says) to Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven - fantastic!

"Synchronized swimming is a “reputation” sport, which means that it is virtually impossible for an athlete to come out of nowhere and surpass an established figure.Studies conducted at the 1997 Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA) World Cup by Chinese researchers evaluated the anthropometric requirements of 81 international synchronized swimmers, comparing them with Chinese elite synchronized swimmers. Their conclusions were that a great deal of similarity existed between synchronized swimmers of all countries, and that the Russian swimmers had the best body characteristics for the sport.The Chinese also found the Russian swimmers to have larger shoulder breadths, longer arm length, and narrower pelvis breadth when compared with normals".

An article that appeared in 1999 before the Russian dominance:-

Surely one of the best of all time. . .the Russian Free from Budapest 2010 - Europeans. Was lucky enough to be sitting in the sun watching - how were there so many empty seats? The first 30 seconds is wow! Take a look

Between 1984 and 1996 the USA won 5 olympic golds, but just two bronze from 2000 through to 2011. Article here in January 2012 dealing with the apparent demise but also introducing their hopes for London 2012.

The reasons behind the United States' inability to qualify for the Olympic team competition are not just issues with athletic ability but with the changing aesthetic of the sport overall, which increasingly placed value upon and emphasized its athletic and gymnastic side and less so its artistic impression—the component of judging a routine that includes choreography, interpretation of music and presentation. This, combined with fewer girls coming up in the sport and the seemingly irreversible dominance of the Russians, has created a perfect storm that could sink the sport in the U.S.

"We are still out there performing with huge smiles on our faces, and we have sequins and glitter," says Killman, "but it's gotten a lot faster. It's gotten more—how fast can you do this and still be just as high or how high can you throw someone out of the water and how acrobatic can they look?"

Killman and Koroleva finishd 10th in the duet behind Jenna and Olivia. The team did not qualify for the Olympic Finals.

2008 ...Spanish innovation to try and get ahead...

Formed by Alba Cabello, Raquel Corral, Andrea Fuentes, Thais Henríquez, Laura López, Gemma Mengual, Irina Rodríguez and Paola Tirados, the Spanish team astounded one and all. They had to dive into the pool without the swimsuits covered with lights specially designed for the occasion, as the organizers were concerned about potential short circuits....

..photgraphs of the lit up cossies are hard to find...these are supposedly they ....

At  London 2012 - great comeback. No lights but who needs them!

 A synchro mum's reflection.......

"Here’s some of the stats of what 2 years in synchro has involved:

    74 Nose Pegs (with 20 more on order)

    Approx 15 boxes of gelatine

    21 nights in Premier Inns

    250+ miles per week to training – This isn’t including the various trips to Leeds, Crystal Palace, Glasgow, Gloucester, Sheffield

    312 cups of coffee whilst spectating

    256 washed towels (ish)

    12 pairs of goggles

    9 Swimming Caps

    6 Sports Water Bottles

    17 Swimming Costumes

    Millions of sequins

    Even more tears (mostly mine)


And its all been worth it! To see our nervous 9 year old turn into a confident, happy and ambitious 11 year old is fabulous. She works incredibly hard but also applies that to her school work. She gets digs from jealous girls who cannot deal with something ‘different’. She tells no-one in school what she is up to. She gets up at the crack of dawn to go training at weekends. She spends endless hours deciding on what music she would like to swim to next. She watches programmes whilst sat in the middle of the living room in split positions. She loves the girls she swims with – it doesn’t matter whether they are 10 or 18, they are all lovely.

Yes, its all been worth it – even today.

Today being the day that every synchronised swimmer gasped as they heard that Olympic funding for Team GB has been completely stopped.

Today the day that those young girls had their dreams and ambitions crushed.

Today being the day, that M went to bed asking what would all their hard work be for.

Her success story begins in 1940, when she was ready to represent her country at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The celebration of this Olympiad never took place as World War II had just started the year before, and the swimming community never knew if the US champion in the 100m freestyle could also shine in Olympic waters. What was, perhaps, a missing champion, became in the same decade an icon for a FINA discipline that was making its debut and that was popularised worldwide through Williams’ performances.She became known, within Hollywood’s sphere, as the “Million Dollar Mermaid”, a 1952 movie in which she had obviously the main role, and the title of her autobiography, publishSeventy years after Williams’ performances, synchro has enormously evolved but the seed of development can be found on the “San Francisco Aquacade” shows of the 1940s.

In a time that synchronised swimming rules were still not defined, Williams’ role in the promotion of “ornamental swimming” or “water ballet” was essential. In 1952, FINA adopted the first set of regulations and synchronised swimming appears for the first time in the official programme of a major competition, at the Pan-American Games in 1955 in Mexico. The success is enormous and without surprise the first edition of the FINA World Championships, in 1973, includes the three main events of the discipline, solo, duet, and team. Swimming lost a champion, but synchronised swimming won a star. A star with no medals, but with a lot of talent. Now, also a star in the sky.ed in 1999.

Esther. . .

For those who want more on Esther Williams go to:-

A part sad, part uplifting story from the Guardian.....


"I was completely blase," says Bouer. "I took for granted my physical skills, but I've never been a beauty. I never thought about it. I've never really learned to do make-up. What can you do with all these wrinkles?" She smiles.

Extract from an article in the Aussie press pre 2007 World Championships in Melbourne. Virginie Dedieu becomes the three time solo champ......

From the very beginning there was something about this girl. Even now, when the sport’s authorities talk of the talent she kept from the womb, it sounds a little like legend.

From her birth, in Aix en Provence, France, Virginie Dedieu kept the ability to close her nose in water.

"In the womb, the baby has the reflex to close its nose. I have kept this reflex. Normally when you are born, you forget that and that reflex is gone," she says.

For some, hands-free nose-blocking sounds less like a skill than a quirky party trick. But for France’s two-time world synchronised swimming solo champion, it has helped define a career.

Dedieu says she is the only synchronised swimmer in the world who refuses to wear a peg on her nose. "When I first started swimming, I had a terrible feeling wearing the peg. I can’t have a clip on my nose, it is very disturbing for me."

Dedieu has come out of retirement to compete in the FINA World Swimming Championships with something to prove: she wants to know if she can win the title with less than four months’ training.

The 28-year-old retired from the sport two years ago to study interior design but says she needed a new challenge and wanted to add to her world titles from 2003 and 2005.

"I think she’s got something over the audience. They just love her. She can just lean forward, put a finger on her mouth and say ‘sshhh’ and the entire audience is dead silent."

Here is the all time synchronised swimming world championship medal table . . .

. . . and a link to the 2007 swim. While you're there treat yourself and take a look at her 2005 swim in Montreal. Wow!

Collection of short articles/snippets appearing in the Los Angeles Times from 1988 on..... and one in particular from 1992.

Really. . . .


They've Finally Hit It Right on the Nose : Olympic trials: U.S. has invisible nose clips to go with Josephson twins in synchronized swimming.


It was Dick Klein, the NBC football director, who planted the idea in Betty Watanabe's head: She had to do something about those nose clips worn by synchronized swimmers. "A director gets fixated on them," Klein told Watanabe, who is director of U.S. Synchronized Swimming.

"You have some of the most attractive female athletes, and that clip takes away from the beauty."

Los Angeles Times