"The Russian, pale and sour, ballet-walks heel-toe, heel-toe onto the pool deck in his bathing suit, which is designed to look like a communist-era military uniform. It consists of shorts, a real fold-down collar, actual epaulets and a black cross-body strap for ammunition. A woman, the Russian's partner, all nose and eyebrows in a lavender bathing suit decorated with appliqué flowers, prances out behind him tragically, and they embrace in this brightly lit arena in Kazan, at the first synchronized swimming world championship to include men...."
Great piece here, if a little "All American"by ESPN's Taffy Brodesser-Aklin. In depth, well written with some great visuals. Images by John Huet. Full piece HERE
Reading RoyalsSynchro Stories 2
More stories assembled from the web
ONE DIRECTION -
THE STORY OF MY LIFE SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING EDITION
by Didier Tommasi
A video to the music and maybe a story within - link HERE
Executive Producer : Stefano Monticelli
Director : Fabio Jansen
Editor : Didier Tommasi
"What better way to advertise the hot springs of Osenke Oita in Japan than to get a load of professional synchronised swimmers to perform routines in the lush natural pools and baths. Featuring Olympic gold medallist Raika Fujii as one of the nose-clipped swimmers, high speed kicks, splashes and rotations interrupt the serene surroundings of the springs....."
BIZARRE(but beautiful) ad uses synchronised swimmers to advertise Japan’s hot springs
The images and narrative below were contained in a letter written to Synchro World Magazine in Spring 1992 by one Vernon Whitaker upon the death of his wife Phyllis (89). Aside of being a member of the original team, Phyllis Whitaker was reserve for the 1924 Paris Olympic Team Breastroke Event, but did not swim. Mr Whitaker also sent a copy of the history of Southport Club from 1878-1978.
We very much hope Mr & Mrs Whitaker would not have minded us sharing (26 years on) their account and memories of the Southport Club.
SYNCHRO MEMORIES from 1928
- A SLICE OF SYNCHRO HISTORY
Charles Smith - goalkeeper for England & Southport water polo team
" I would say that the team was formed between the years 1925 and 30 and made up from members of the ladies section of the Southport Swimming Club. Mr Charles Smith, goalkeeper of the England and also Southport Water Polo Teams brought the idea of synchronised display swimming, as it was originally known, from the Continent where he had seen it for the first time."
Extract of Club History:-
Southport Synchronised Swimming Team (team members wearing hats). Picture taken at Southport outdoor pool
"The strong club team enabled the club to carry on its committments in 1938 - 1939 when the second war broke out. This time the club managed to carry on, although all league activities were suspended. About 4-5 Galas each year were held. Mostly in the form of "Wings for Victory," "Spitfire Gala" or "Battleship Week," the proceeds going to these various efforts. Not much polo took place but the young swimmers provided an interesting and varied programme. The Ladies with their "Rythmic Swimming Team" gave many fine displays. This part of the Ladies Section had developed over the years, since Charlie Smith had brought the basic idea back from the 1908 Olympics. Through the 1920's & 1930's the ladies had become quite famous with their ornamental swimming patterns. These club displays, coupled with the swimming and plenty of hard work by the committee, kept the club going through the war years".
"He formed and trained the team which gave "Displays of Synchronised Swimming". The team comprised 6 members each wearing different coloured costumes. The movements were done to gramaphone music. "The Blue Danube Waltz" I suppose it was the water equivalent of formation dancing until such time as it turned into its present competitive art form. Exhibitions were given in many Lancashire towns and elsewhere. I remember, in particular, the visit to the indoor bath at New Brighton (Cheshire) because a small live orchestra provided the music in place of the usual scratchy record. The team used many of the synchronised movements seen today. The only names I remember , in addition to my late wifes are Anne Parkinson, Irene Hatch and Florrie Barker. Photo with details enclosed.
The Water polo team and swimming teams (Ladies and Gents 100yds, relay etc) visited other towns competing with other clubs in what was the Lancashire and also the Northern Counties League.
That would be when the display team would also give their exhibition. They were evening events and travel was by train or char-a-bang. The latter had canvas hood and celluloid side screens which was removed in fine weather. Also acetalene head lamps. No such thing as heated coaches, so one had to wear warm coats and wrap up in the rugs provided by the coach company".
Courtesy: British Pathe
Above is a frame from a short British Pathe film entitled 'Lido of the North 1929" The six ladies may well be those pictured in the Whitaker's photo and it is easy to see where the backdrop in the travel poster ties in. Click the frame to see the fim - sadly no sound.
"And that’s what I love about synchronized swimmers, the art and the performance but the extreme physical effort it takes. Their bodies are engrossed and strengthened, heavier and lighter at the same time. Weightless, but stronger …"
The Swimmers Emma Hartvig
Swedish photographer Emma Hartvig’s has just created a series titled The Swimmers about the Aqualillies, a Los Angeles-based group of synchronized swimmers who approached her upon learning she was in town. ‘They have apparently been following my work for quite some time, and asked if I would photograph them,’ Hartvig explains, ‘which was, to put it simply, a dream come true.’ So over the course of a few hours in ‘a fantastic house in the Hollywood Hills’, Hartvig captured the Aqualillies as they dived, floated, posed and performed in perfect synch.
‘I decided to bring out a certain awkwardness, bizarreness, strength and collaborative view on the otherwise entertaining and beautiful performances, like a showground for the body, the swimming pool is a ready-made stage for these swimmers. And that’s what I love about synchronized swimmers, the art and the performance but the extreme physical effort it takes. Their bodies are engrossed and strengthened, heavier and lighter at the same time. Weightless, but stronger … It was quite challenging to try to stay still underwater and focus and do it properly. Luckily, I’m a girl born by the sea, so I’m very good at holding my breath underwater, so it went smoothly.’ – Emma Hartvig
Click HERE to see the shoot's other beautiful images
"...an expert linguist eventually makes poetry and all of a sudden the words disappear and all you are left with is a feeling. Synchronised swimming shares this type of transcendence - a perfectly executed 'Crane' or Split' are like well printed letters …...but it is perhaps the tender curl of a toepoint or a supernatural flick of the wrist that changes these statements into poetry....."
Part of the introduction to a video in four parts which looks at the rivalry between two of the USA's premier Synchro clubs the Santa Clara Aquamaids and the Walnut Creek Aquanuts. Both San Franscisco/Oakland based outfits are coached by coaches who jointly took the USA National Team to Olympic success at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
The feeling I get from the Seramic tunes we've been blessed with so far is that upon listening to them, almost anyone would feel the urge to dance. It makes sense then that their two music videos to date both include a lot of dancing, first up in the Greg's Love video with gymnast Sophia DeJesus, and now in the brilliant (seriously - it's great) video for recent track I Got You, which features a couple of GB Olympic synchronised swimmers, Olivia Federici and Katie Clark.
Synchronised swimming is probably one of the sports I watch with most awe when the Olympics comes around and the video is a total winner, with the underwater filming showing off the magical moves the ladies are pulling off under the water and all the work which takes place under the surface which you don't usually see. In particular the upside down shots (such as the sequence from 3:13) are totally confusing and magical all at once, and the video is a really beautiful compliment to the track!
"The disciplined movements and the perfect flowing choreography portrayed by the swimmers is the perfect antagonism for I Got You‘ crazy melodically pace and only-apparent craziness. And in the words of Marcus Foster, while the song is about “having someone’s back even if you part ways”. The video itself concentrates on “exploring subtle artistic elements behind a sport… and focussed on what happens underneath the water, rather than above the surface”.
Do you have a daughter who loves swimming? Is she the child you can’t get out of the pool to have lunch or put more lotion on? Does she also like to dance, listen to music, or play dress up? If any of these things apply, you might have a “Water Ballerina” or “Synchronized Swimmer” on your hands!
'A story about Synchronised Swimming'
This book tells the story of how author, Diane Garcia (Wendy Willow), first learned synchronized swimming when she was 11 years old, at a swim club in Staten Island, NY. It is beautifully illustrated in watercolor by one of her former coaches,Ida Noelle Calumpang, a former member of the Philippine National Synchronized Swimming Team. It includes pictures of figures and patterns performed in synchronized swimming, and follows Diane's (Wendy's) journey from a nervous first-time synchronized swimmer to a truly self confident one!! The book is appropriate for children ages 4-8.
The forward of the book is a letter to parents explaining the benefits of this sport. Diane Garcia, a NYC elementary school teacher, wrote this book to increase awareness of this BEAUTIFUL/FUN sport! Synchronized Swimming has given her joy and LIFELONG FRIENDSHIPS, as well as, SWIMMING, the BEST FORM OF EXERCISE THERE IS! SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING ISN'T JUST FOR OLYMPIC SWIMMERS, IT'S FOR EVERYONE!