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Synchronized Swimming: An Essential Glossary of Terms

Yahoo Contributor Network

Seen for the first time, synchronized swimming, with its dramatic lifts, visually striking costumes and eye-catching formations, can be mind boggling. We often see it in movies made during Hollywood's long bygone golden era, but beneath the surface of the makeup and demonstrative theatrics lies a true team sport with all of the passion and difficulty found in any other athletic pursuit.

Here, we examine a few need to know terms for viewers of Olympic synchronized swimming:

Water Ballet - this term is the original term for the visually appealing sport of synchronized swimming. It is still widely used as a descriptive term for the sport, particularly for the team category of competition.

Synchro - an abbreviated nickname widely used for the sport of synchronized swimming.

Treading Water - this means to propel oneself through the water using only the legs to remain stable at the surface of the water.

Eggbeater - A particular method of treading water used by synchronized swimmers to maintain an even keel in the water. Named for its resemblance to the motion of the kitchen utensil. Used to generate the force required to perform the extreme lifts and throws, which the sport is known for.

Sculls - the hand movements used by synchronized swimmers to move and stabilize themselves in the water. There are myriad individual types of sculls.

Back Layout - common position where the swimmer, using sculls to stabilize herself at the water's surface, appearing as if lying down in the water. This position is also used by a member of the team known as a base during some lifts and throws to provide a platform for the flyer to stand on.

Boost - also referred to as a jump, this quick, upright push from below the water is often accelerated by swimmers below the surface.

Lifts and Throws - maneuver performed by team synchronized swimmers whereby one member, referred to as a flyer, is lifted from the water by other members of the team below surface. Often, the flyer is propelled with force via a boost into an aerobatic maneuver referred to as a throw, due to the fact that the flyer is physically tossed by teammates. If the flyer remains stationary as opposed to being flung, it is referred to as a lift.

Deckwork - used to set the stage for the in water performance, deckwork is an essential part of the synchronized swimming routine that is performed at poolside before and whilst entering the water.

Cadence Action - a visually arresting maneuver comprised of a series of similar or identical movements sequentially performed in order by each swimmer successively, the cadence action takes great skill and timing on behalf of each member of the team.

Shirttail: The Author grew up in a family of swimming enthusiasts, each with their own unique style of swim. She fondly remembers passing the long Summer days in Central Florida in the family swimming pool choreographing intricate synchronized swimming routines with her cousins and grandmother.

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