Image credit: Shaun Chiet/SportSG
The basic skills you will need in synchronised swimming is sculling and treading water with a kick called the "eggbeater". There are also many positions that you can learn to combine into a routine. Additionally, there is an element known as “lifts” in synchronised swimming, where swimmers create a structure of sorts with their bodies and lift themselves from the water in the same formation they created underwater.
Sculls are hand movements used to propel the body and are essential to synchronised swimming. Some commonly used sculls are support, standard, torpedo, split-arm, barrel and paddle scull. The support scull is most often used and is made up of two repeated movements. You need to hold your upper arms against your body and your forearms at 90-degree angles. Then, you move your forearms back and forth to create enough water pressure to hold your legs above the water.
This move is much like how a manual eggbeater works, with one leg rotating in a clockwise manner and rotating the other leg in an anti-clockwise manner. Synchronised swimmers use this kick because it leaves their hands free to perform strokes. Due to the opposite motion of the kick, it is a stable and efficient way for swimmers to attain the necessary height to perform moves above the water.
image by SportSG
There are hundreds of positions that can be used to create infinite combinations. The six most common positions are illustrated below.
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Crane Position - Hold your body in a vertical position with one leg held vertically above the water surface, while the other leg is held parallel under the surface in a 90-degree angle or "L" shape.
Ballet Leg Double Position - From lying flat on the water surface, draw your knees towards your chest with shins parallel to the water surface. Straighten your legs above the water surface to assume a Surface Ballet Leg Double position.
Side Fishtail Position - This is a position similar to the crane. One leg remains vertical, while the other is extended to the side parallel to the water, creating a side "Y" position.
Knight Position -The body is held vertically with your head in line with the hips and pointed to the bottom of the pool. One leg is lowered to create a vertical line perpendicular to the surface.
Flamingo Position - Similar to the ballet leg position where the bottom leg is pulled into the chest so that the shin of the bottom leg is touching the knee of the vertical leg.
Split Position - With the body vertical, one leg is stretched forward along the surface and the other leg is extended back along the surface.
Lifts are formations that are formed underwater and as swimmers propel themselves towards the surface, they stay in formation and add more elements like acrobatics. There are three parts to a lift in synchronised swimming: The Flyer, the Base and the Pushers.
The Flyer - Flyers are agile and flexible and are usually the smallest member of the team. It is preferable that they have a gymnastics background as they need to perform complicated moves while on the top of the formation.
The Base - Base swimmers tends to be small in size, but should have good leg strength and a solid core as they make up the structure of the formation.
The Pushers - Pushers are the bigger and stronger swimmers because they need the strength to propel the formation to the water surface.
Types of Lifts
The Platform Lift - The base lays out in a back layout position underwater, where they lie on their back to form a platform of interlinked bodies. The Flyer sets in a squatting position and stands once the lift reaches the surface. The remaining teammates use the eggbeater kicks to hold the platform and the flyer out of the water.
The Stack Lift - Considered to be an updated version of the Platform, the Stack Lift begins with the base squatting while underwater, supported by the pushers. The flyer then stands on the shoulders of the base. The pushers and base gradually stretch out their limbs, elevating the flyer. A rotating descent is usually added to this lift.
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