Artistic Swimming


Discipline of Aquatics
Participants 550
NOCs 47
Competitions held 17 (Venues)
Distinct events 3
IF Fédération internationale de natation


Synchronized swimming is one of the few sports or disciplines that are contested only by women (rhythmic gymnastics and softball are the others). It is not considered a separate sport but rather a discipline of swimming, or technically aquatics, and as such is governed by the Fédération internationale de natation (FINA).

Synchronized swimming is a relatively new sport with its origins dating to the beginning of the 20th century. Water show activities first received notice in the United States when Annette Kellerman (1886-1975), an Australian swimmer who toured the United States, performed her water acrobatics in a glass tank. Katherine Curtis was responsible for developing the sport in the United States, when she began to experiment around 1915 with water figures and had the figures performed to musical accompaniment. Her students performed at the 1933-34 Chicago “Century of Progress” Fair, where the announcer, former Olympic swimming gold medalist Norman Ross, coined the term “synchronized swimming”.

American film star Esther Williams later popularized synchronized swimming when she performed water ballet in several American movies. The competitive aspect was developed about the same time when Frank Havlicek, a student of Curtis, drew up a set of rules.

Synchronized swimming was recognized as a separate discipline of swimming by FINA in 1952. World Championships in synchronized swimming have been held since 1973, when FINA first established swimming world championships. Synchronized swimmers compete at the World Championships in solo, duet, and team competition. Men are not allowed to compete at the international level, although they occasionally appear in national events.

At the Olympics, synchronized swimming was first held in 1984 with solo and duet events, and these events were also contested in 1988 and 1992. However, both events were discontinued in 1996 at Atlanta, replaced by an 8-person team event. Since 2000, the program has consisted of a duet and team event. Initially, the Olympic synchronized swimming events were dominated by the United States and Canada (winning all golds), but since 2000, all golds have been won by Russian swimmers. Two of them, Anastasiya Davydova has won five golds, while Anastasiya Yermakova has won four.

All-time medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Russian Federation RUS 10 0 0 10
United States USA 5 2 2 9
Canada CAN 3 4 1 8
Japan JPN 0 4 10 14
People's Republic of China CHN 0 3 2 5
Spain ESP 0 3 1 4
France FRA 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Anastasiya Davydova RUS 5 0 0 5
Nataliya Ishchenko RUS 5 0 0 5
Svetlana Romashina RUS 5 0 0 5
Anastasiya Yermakova RUS 4 0 0 4
Olga Brusnikina RUS 3 0 0 3
Mariya Kiselyova RUS 3 0 0 3
Mariya Gromova RUS 3 0 0 3
Elvira Khasyanova RUS 3 0 0 3
Carolyn Waldo CAN 2 1 0 3
Tracie Ruiz-Conforto USA 2 1 0 3

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Duet Women 8
Team Women 6
Solo Women 3