London 2012 Summer Olympics - Synchronized Swimming
By Kapila Bhatia

Synchronized swimming started as a game only for the men in early 1800s. The sport now consists of two forms - Synchronized swimming and Rhythmic Gymnastics - at the Olympics and is a sport only for women.

The main objective of Synchronized swimming is to perform beautiful acts in the water in synchronicity. The sport was developed from ornamental ballets in water from 19th and 20th centuries. The sport gained popularity under the capable hands of great swimmers such as Annette Kellerman (Australia). Synchronized swimming made its first appearance at the Olympics during the Games at Los Angeles in 1984.

During the London 2012 Summer Olympics, the sport will be hosted at the Aquatics Center situated at the Olympic Park. Apart from Synchronized swimming, the Aquatics Center will also host Diving, Modern Pentathlon and Swimming. The competition will be hosted from August 5th to August 10th at the Aquatics Center. There is one medal each for the Duet and Team competitions. There will be 104 women participating in the event. This is the second sport in the history of Olympics with only women as participants. The other sport is Rhythmic Gymnastics. The spectators can be assured that they will witness some art on water this time around.

Only a section of the pool is needed for Synchronized swimming. The measurement must have a length of 30 meters, must be 3 meters deep and 25 meters wide. The competitors short acts in a group of eight and they are accompanied by music. There are underwater speakers to help the swimmers flow. The swimmers require great strength and at the same time unmatched flexibility as well. They also need to be good team members as
well for do well in team events.

In the Duet competition, the swimmers will have to perform a technical plus one free routine for the preliminary stage. The top 12 swimmers will be decided after both the scores are added and they will advance to the finals.

In the Team event, all the teams will have to act one Technical act and one free routine. Winners will be decided on the cumulative scores of both the events.
There are two different set of judges for both the technical and free routines. For the technical part, there is one panel that checks for the requirements and the second panel checks for synchronization, manner of performance and difficulty.

The technical panel judges check for the technicalities of the strokes on the free act. There is a second panel which scrutinizes the artistic part of the demonstration which includes music, choreography and style of demonstration. Therefore it is evident that none of the players have the scope to be positively content about their performance till the scores are out.

The swimmers can be penalized for taking very long to enter the swimming pool or for missing any essential part in every technical performance. Using the bottom end of the swimming pool too often can also be penalized. These are just some of the ways a swimmer or a team can be penalized during synchronized swimming. The swimmers or the team have to be positively content not to miss any part of their routine.

Kapila Bhatia is an avid blogger and contributes regularly to Bhavesh Bhatia's blog. Visit the blog for the latest Olympics news and sports updates.

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