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What It Takes to Be an Olympic Synchronized Swimmer

Written on June 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm , by

The girls slather themselves in Vaseline before getting in the pool to keep their skin from drying out from the chlorine. (Photo courtesy of John Herr)

This week I got the chance to grab some breakfast with the ladies of the U.S. Synchronized Swimming National Team. In addition to getting the ins and outs of the sport I learned that two of the team’s swimmers, Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva will be representing the team in London this summer, competing in the duet event and sponsored by Infusium 23. Below, a look into how the team gets ready to compete. (Hint: It includes lots of eating!)

  • The girls work out eight hours a day, six days a week and mostly in the water. When they’re not practicing their routine, they’re lifting weights to stay toned and strong. Boosters (the girls who launch a teammate, known as the flier into the air) do lots of squats to power up their legs.
  • A synchronized swimming routine is typically between three to five minutes, and the moves and even positions of the swimmers are always changing. If a routine is done in competition and a judge makes a comment about a position or move, it gets replaced and new moves and angles have to be learned.
  • During the routine, swimmers are holding their breath 50 percent of the time. To train for this, they often do underwater laps during practice to exercise their lungs.
  • Things can get rough in the water! The girls have all experienced sprained toes from being kicked, bruises and even concussions–ouch!
  • To keep their bodies fueled the girls stick to a low-carb, high protein diet. Since they work out for so long, an assistant brings them meals in Tupperware to the side of the pool to eat while practicing. Sounds like a dream come true, but the girls say eating while you work out is actually not all that appetizing!

Killman and Koroleva will be off to London for the Opening Ceremony, and then will spend a week in Dublin training before competition starts August 5. For more information on them and the rest of the team visit usasynchro.org.