Artistic Swimming 101: Glossary

Artistic Swimming 101: Glossary
Posted at 4:08 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 16:19:00-05

Artistic impression: An effect, image, or feeling retained as a result of a swimmer's routine; covers the three areas of choreography, interpretation of music and manner of presentation. The artistic impression is judged by a panel of five judges on a scale of 0.0 (fail) to 10.0 (perfect). (See Artistic Swimming 101: Scoring for more information) 

Artistic impression score: The score given by each jury member of the artistic judging panel for choreography, interpretation of music and manner of presentation. The highest and lowest score of the judging panel are dropped, and the remaining three scores are averaged to complete the artistic impression score. 

Ballet leg: A position where one leg is extended perpendicular to the water surface, with the body in a back layout position. 

Ballet leg double: a position where both legs are together and extended perpendicular to the water surface, with the face at the surface. 

Boost: A rapid, headfirst rise out of the water, aiming to raise as much of the body as possible above the surface. 

Cadence action: A sequence of identical movements performed one by one by all team members, usually in rapid succession. 

Combined spin: A descending spin of at least 360 degrees followed, without a pause, by an equal ascending spin in the same direction. 

Continuous spin: A descending spin with a rapid rotation of at least 720 degrees, before the heels reach the surface. 

Costume: As dictated by the rules, swimsuit costumes must be appropriate and must not be transparent. Other accessories are not allowed. Athletes typically dress in brightly colored swimsuits with matching or coordinated head/ hair pieces and dramatic, waterproof stage makeup. FINA, the sport's governing body, suggests that the style of costumes used should coordinate with the music choice and choreography. 

Crane: A position where the body is extended in a vertical position with one leg extended forward at a 90-degree angle. 

Deck work: The mood setting moves that swimmers perform on the deck once the music starts, but before they enter the water. Deck work is not scored as part of the routine. 

Degree of difficulty: A weighting applied to a particular figure for scoring purposes in a figure competition. 

Descending spin: A spin of 180 or 360 degrees that starts at the height of the vertical position and is completed as the heels reach the surface. 

Difficulty: Complexity of movements, speed of movements, and number of figures and hybrids. 

Eggbeater: A rotary action of the legs used to support and propel the upper body in an upright position, leaving the arms free. 

Execution: The performance level of the skills demonstrated 

Figure: A combination of body positions and transitions performed in a prescribed manner. 

Flamingo: A position where one leg is extended perpendicular to the surface of the water while the other leg is drawn to the chest, with the lower leg parallel to the surface and the face at the surface. 

Float: A surface formation where between two and eight swimmers are connected horizontally. 

Free routine: A routine where the choreography and choice of music is completely determined by the athletes. 

Full twist: A rotation of 360 degrees at a sustained height. 

Gelatin: Hair gel or is used swimmers' hair neat and out of the way while performing, usually tied back and adorned with a head or hair accessory. 

Goggles: Goggles are not permitted in synchronized swimming unless required for medical reasons. However, the athletes typically train with goggles on. 

Half twist: A rotation of 180 degrees at sustained height. 

Hybrid figure: A combination of figure parts, body positions, and transitions that come from mixed origin or composition. 

Judges: The experts responsible for scoring the athletes, split into three panels of five. 

Level: The body's position in relation to the water's surface, such as high, medium, or low. 

Lift: When one or more swimmers give support to lift another one or more swimmer(s) above the surface of the water. 

Manner of presentation: The total command of a swimmer's performance as she presents it to the audience. 

Nose clip: A small clip of hard plastic or wire with a thin rubber coating, used to stop water from entering the nose during underwater movements. 

Pattern: A formation made by the spatial relationship between the members of a team. 

Pool: As dictated by the rules, the pool dimensions must be 20m by 30m. Inside that area must be a smaller 12m by 12m area with a depth of at least 3m. The water temperature can fluctuate anywhere between 25-27 degrees Celsius (77 and 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Pool pattern: The path a swimmer takes through the water. 

Propulsion technique: The way a swimmer uses her arms, legs, or both to move through the water; a driving force. 

Required elements: Between eight and nine fixed figures or other requirements which must be performed by all duet or team members during a technical routine. 

Reverse combined spin: An ascending spin of at least 360 degrees followed by an equal descending spin in the same direction without pause. 

Risk factor: The use of a difficult action in which an error in execution may cause a near disaster. 

Rocket split: A move involving a thrust to the vertical position, followed by a rapid leg split before returning to the vertical position at maximum height. 

Routine: a composition of strokes, figures, and parts thereof, choreographed to music; it is judged both on technical merit and artistic impression. (See Synchronized swimming scoring for more information) 

Scull: A movement of the hands designed to apply continuous pressure against the water to propel, balance, and support the body while treading water. There are several types of hand movements that can constitute sculling. 

Speakers: There are both poolside and underwater speakers that play the athletes' music, which allow them to stay in sync and keep count at all times - whether they are submerged or above the surface of the water. 

Spin: An ascending or descending rotation in a vertical position, performed in a uniform motion unless otherwise specified. 

Split: A position where the legs are split evenly forward and back, with the feet and thighs at the surface while the lower back is arched and the hips, shoulders, and head are in a vertical line with the water. 

Technical routine: A routine which contains the required elements woven into the choreography. During the technical routine, athletes are permitted to choose their own performance music. 

Thrust: A move that starts from a back pike position with the legs perpendicular to the surface and involves a rapid vertical upward movement of the legs and hips as the body unrolls to assume the vertical position. 

Twirl: A rapid twist of 180 degrees. 

Twist: A rotation at a sustained height 

Twist spin: A move that involves a half twist followed by a continuous spin without pause or break in the connection. 

Vertical position: A position where the body is extended, with face, chest, thighs and feet at the surface. 

Walkout front: A move where, starting in the split position, the front leg is lifted in a 180 degree arc over the surface to meet the other leg in a surface arch position, and with continuous movement an arch to back layout is executed.