Artistic Swimming: Tokyo 2020-2021

Artistic Swimming: Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

Largely considered as a dance form in the pool, synchronized swimming, now known as Artistic Swimming is an Olympic event that seeks to test skill, grace, stamina, and coordination. The combination results in a confident mesmerizing kaleidoscopic display on the surface of the water. Artistic Swimming comprises a team of swimmers entering a pool and engaging in a choreographed musical routine akin to a gymnastic performance in the water. 

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - MARCH 05: Team France, consisting of Marie Annequin, Morgane Beteille, Iphinoe Davvetas, Solene Lusseau, Laura Auge, Margaux Chretien, Estel-anais Hubaud and Lauriane Pontat, compete in the Team Technical Routine - Final during the FINA Olympic Games Synchronised Swimming Qualification Tournament - Aquece Rio Test Event for the Rio 2016 Olympics at Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre on March 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Right from its inception at the 1984 Games, Synchronized Swimming (now Artistic Swimming) has been a women's exclusive event. It is one of two Olympic events that are women exclusive. The other being Gymnastics' Rhythmic discipline. 


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The most successful country in the event (Artistic Swimming) is Russia with 10 medals (10 Gold). The swimmers with the most Artistic Swimming Olympic medals are Russia's Svetlana Romashina, Anastasia Davydova and Natalia Ishchenko. They have claimed 5 medals each for their efforts in the Olympics. 

Artistic Swimming in Tokyo 2020

At the Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021, swimmers from 16 countries will perform elaborate routines of grace and synchronization both under and on the surface of the water. This will be the sixth Olympics to feature the duet and the team as the medal events. 

Previously the solo routine served as a medal event until the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. However, in 1996, neither the solo nor the duet event was held at the Olympic Games. Instead, the team event that is part of today’s schedule, made its Olympic bow.

Top Artistic Swimmers at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Team USA will only compete in the duet event. Lindi Schroeder and Anita Alvarez will seek to win the medal to help the USA get closer to Russia in the overall medal tally. 

BEIJING - AUGUST 23: The United States performs in the synchronised swim team event free routine final held at the National Aquatics Center on Day 15 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 23, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Russia's Svetlana Romashina, competing under the ROC flag, will seek to win another medal to become the most successful Olympian in the discipline. She will take to the pool in the duet with Svetlana Kolesnichenko. Spain’s Marta Fiedina and Anastasiya Savchuk could make waves in the duet competition. 

In the team event, 5 times defending gold medalists, Russia, competing under the ROC flag will be the undoubted favorites. Meanwhile, expect China, silver medalists in the last two games, to run them close. Also, last time’s bronze medalists, Japan, could receive that extra urge to excel at their home games. 

Competition format

Artistic Swimming medalists are the teams with the highest combined score after the technical and free routines. 

For the Tokyo Olympics' Artistic Swimming, teams of eight and the pairs perform their routines before 15 judges. In the technical round, these 15 observe one element of each routine. i.e. 5 judges observe the impression, 5 observe the execution, and 5 score the elements. However, in the free routines round, the elements aspect is replaced by the difficulty aspect. 

BEIJING - AUGUST 23: Australia performs in the synchronised swim team event free routine final held at the National Aquatics Center on Day 15 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 23, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

In Artistic Swimming, there are a host of things that lead to penalties. These include exceeding the time limit for deck movements (10 seconds) or deck walk-on (30 seconds). Also, the routine cannot be 15 seconds more or less than the official time limit. In a true test of stamina, the artistic swimmer is not permitted to use the bottom of the pool during the routine. Deliberate usage results in a point deduction. 

Furthermore, there are two point deductions as well. These result from swimmers' routines being interrupted by their own team, usage of pyramids during the deck, and touching the floor of the pool to assist a teammate. 

Besides this, if a single Artistic Swimmer stops swimming, the entire routine is hit with a disqualification. The disqualification may be rescinded if the judges determine that the swimmers stopped because of external factors. 

ALDERSHOT, ENGLAND - MAY 08: The Great Britain Synchronised Swimming team pose after the announcement of the synchronised swimming athletes for the London 2012 Olympic Games at Garrison Sports Centre on May 8, 2012 in Aldershot, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

In the technical routine, the elements scores serve as 40% of the total score. Meanwhile, Execution and Difficulty make up 30% of each of the scores. The elements for the team competition include the following- a full twist of four rotations, thrust, barracuda airborne split, manta ray hybrid, and walkover front. Furthermore, each routine must have acrobatic movements. One of these must be performed by each member and two other movements must be displayed at the same time. Also, each routine needs to have a Cadence action. 

The elements for the duet comprise a two rotation fishtail full twist, ballet leg sequence, thrust, walkout front, a three rotation vertical full twist, and a jump, lift or throw. 

In the free routine, Artistic Impression constitutes a monstrous 40% of the total score. As in the technical routine, Execution and Difficulty comprise 30% of the score. 

Schedule for Artistic swimming at Tokyo 2020

Artistic Swimming will last for 6 days. The event will kick off with the Duet-Free Routine Preliminary on August 2. It will end with the Team-Free Routine Final on August 7. 

August 2DuetFree Routine Preliminary19:30
August 3DuetTechnical Routine19:30
August 4DuetFree Routine Final19:30
August 6TeamTechnical Routine19:30
August 7TeamFree Routine19:30

Venue for Artistic Swimming at Tokyo 2020


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Both the duet and the team events in Artistic Swimming will take place at the Tokyo Aquatics Center. This is the same venue that will host the Diving and Swimming events at the 2021 Olympics. 


VenueTokyo Aquatics Center
DateAugust 2- August 7
ChannelPeacock TV (US), BBC iPlayer (UK), Eurosport Player (Europe), TSN (Canada), Channel 7 (Australia), Sony LIV (India)
Total Players competing in Artistic Swimming at the Tokyo Olympics104 from 16 countries
Most medals in the sport (Gold)Russia (6 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze )


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