25 July 13:10 (BST)

A guide to synchronised swimming at Glasgow 2018

GLASGOW - Combining elements of swimming, dance and gymnastics, synchronised swimming has been known by several names over the decades, including ornamental swimming and water ballet. Here is a guide to what you need to know about the sport.

History of the sport
Recently rebranded by governing body FINA as 'artistic swimming', synchronised swimming was originally performed by men as an aquatic art form termed 'ornamental swimming' or 'water ballet'. While the first men-only competition was held in Berlin in 1891, from the early 20th century it became more acceptable for women to participate.

Australian Annette KELLERMAN was described as the first underwater ballerina after performing in a glass tank at the New York Hippodrome in 1907, and by 1924 the first championships were held in Montreal, Canada exclusively for women. USA freestyle champion and film star Esther WILLIAMS went on to increase its popularity by featuring in numerous 'aqua musicals' in the 1940s.

As routines became more technical and athletic, it was then featured as a demonstration sport at the Olympic Games in 1952, although not making the grade as an Olympic sport until Los Angeles 1984.

Men have since been reintegrated into the sport and the mixed duet event made its debut at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan.

Events
There are nine events at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, all choreographed routines performed to music. All but the free combination event are split into technical and free categories.

Solo - an individual female athlete can compete in either or both of the technical and free categories.

Duet - two female athletes, or one male and one female athlete in the mixed event, can compete in either or both of the technical and free categories.

Team - four to eight female athletes can compete in either or both of the technical and free categories.

Free combination - six to 10 female athletes can compete in the free category only, combining solo, duet and team elements into the routine.

Competition rules
Technical routines require technical elements to be performed in a set order. Free routines have no such restrictions to the elements performed.

A panel of 10 judges will award scores for both categories of routine, with five evaluating technical merit (execution, synchronisation and difficulty) and five evaluating artistic impression (choreography, musical interpretation and presentation). Scores are awarded between 0 and 10 in increments of one tenth of a point.

The highest and lowest scores in each category (technical merit and artistic impression) are cancelled with an average calculated for the remaining scores. Both totals are then multiplied by five and added together, with a maximum score being 100.

The final result is the combined total of 50 per cent of the technical routine score and 50 per cent of the free routine score.

The synchronised swimming competition begins on Friday 3 August at Scotstoun Sports Campus.

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