About Artistic Swimming
Artistic swimming, or synchronized swimming, was created in the early 1900s and grew popularity in the United States as individuals combined water acrobatics with music (1). The sport’s official Olympic debut was in 1984 in Los Angeles, with the United States taking home the first gold medal. Artistic swimming requires great strength, stamina, grace and precision. Routines can be solo, duet, or team performances and are judged on artistic impression, difficulty, and execution (2).
USA Artistic Swimming
USA Artistic Swimming is the national governing body for the sport of artistic swimming in the United States. Annually, the organization runs 6 National Championships, 8 camps, 3 National Team Trials, and 1 convention. USA Artistic Swimming also oversees the entire Olympic qualifying process for its athletes and provides full-time training and support for its National Team.
Across USA Artistic Swimming’s National Championships and Trials, and at the World Championships and the Olympic level, artistic swimming events are nothing short of awe-inspiring. USA Artistic Swimming’s events range from 150-1,100 athletes competing in solo, duet and team routines. The National Championships are split into 4 zones (North, South, East & West) to give equal travel to members.
Each of the National Championships, like the Junior Olympic Championships, has a qualifying pathway, meaning athletes compete at qualifying events to gain eligibility for the national level.
USA Artistic Swimming hosted the FINA World Youth Championships for the 13-15 age group from August 9-14 in Charlotte, NC. “We had teams coming from all over the world. This was one of the first World Championships for that age group. It’s a new championship, and it’s only happened a few times across the world,” Baylee Robinson, Events and Membership Director at USA Artistic Swimming says.
Going for the Gold
The National Trials are typically held in conjunction with one of USA Artistic Swimming’s championships to allow the athletes at high-level events stay an extra day to try out for one of the National Teams. The Senior National Team and the Junior National Team train full-time in Southern California, while the 13-15 National Team does a separate training camp for 2 months. “USA Artistic Swimming oversees the entire Olympic qualifying process from the National Team selection to managing those that go to Olympic qualifying events. We support those athletes, their full-time training and everything they need to be on the National Team,” Robinson shares.
What Does USA Artistic Swimming Need from Hosts?
A typical championship runs for 5-8 days, but the organization is flexible in its dates/times. For a facility, their main requirement is one 50-meter pool that has 10-feet-deep water or more. Most events just need one pool, aside from the Junior Olympic Championships ideally needing two pools. For spectators, anywhere from 200-800 person seating capacity is best. Hotels within a close proximity to the facility is the next biggest need, since many athletes travel for these events. A Destination close to a major airport is also ideal.
We like to host our events in new cities and locations we haven’t been to before. Hosting at a new pool allows us to expose our sport to that facility in hopes to gain enough engagement for that facility to create their own programing. We have a wide variety of different events that Destinations and Facilities can host. If a facility is new to our sport we encourage starting with camps, they are great stepping stones for a pool that has not hosted artistic swimming before. We are super flexible – we come onsite and do everything, we just need a pool.Baylee Robinson, Events and Membership Director, USA Artistic Swimming
Growing the Sport & Getting Involved
To get involved in artistic swimming, a great first step is to see if there is a club or team in your area. If so, USA Artistic Swimming assists new individuals in joining a program. On USA Artistic Swimming’s website, check out the ‘Find a Club’ page to search near you, or contact their membership email and the team will help connect you with the right people. For those starting new programs, the organization offers coach education to teach individuals how to coach the sport. “We are very interested in getting our sport involved in more small town communities to help grow programs up off the ground,” Robinson notes.
USA Artistic Swimming’s open RFP’s for 2023 are on Playeasy. Click here to check them out and see if you could host!
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