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Synchronised swimming: technical routines, numerous favorites

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Team USA won in men's 4x100m medley relay

Team USA won in women's 4x100m medley relay

HOSSZÚ Katinka (HUN) won in women's 400m IM

LACOURT Camille (FRA) won in men's 50m backstroke

SJOSTROM Sarah (SWE) won in women's 50m freestyle

KALISZ Chase (USA) won in men's 400m IM

KING Lilly (USA) won in women's 50m breaststroke

Men's High diving results: 1. Steve Lo Bue (USA) 397.15 2. Michal Navratil (CZE) 390.90 3. Alessandro De Rose (ITA) 379.65

LEDECKY Katie (USA) won in women's 800m freestyle

SJOSTROM Sarah (SWE) just broke the World Record in women's 50m freestyle semi-final

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Budapest will mark the tenth anniversary of technical routines in the history of FINA World Championships. It was during the Melbourne WCH in 2007 that technical and free routines were separated in solo, duet and team events. Consequently, the number of medals increased from 4 to 7. Another period will come to an end at the 17th FINA WCH, FINA Technical Synchronised Swimming Committee may propose modifications to rules for the following 4-year term.

Ten years ago by its innovative decision FINA Technical Synchronised Swimming Committee intended to broaden the possibilities of obtaining medals among nations. After all, there are major differences in routines of advanced techniques, easier and more entertaining free routines of group choreography and routines highlighting individual skills. The World Championships in Melbourne proved to be a good example where the most successful synchro swimmer, the Russian Natalia Ischenko (in the early stages of her career at the time) won with her solo technical routine – following her fellow swimmer, Anastasia Yermakova –, whereas the French synchro swimming star, Virginie Dedieu gained her third world champion title for the third time in line in free routine category.

Another purpose of the separation was to provide opportunity to more swimmers within a nation to compete in events of different requirement systems. At the 2015 WCH is Kazan for instance Huang Xuenxen and Sun Wenyan, the 2 Chinese icons of synchro shared to silver and bronze medals for the 2 events.  

As for key differences: the duration of technical routines is shorter than that of free ones, but more importantly, technical routines shall feature compulsory elements in a determined order matched with a high level choreography. The order and composition of compulsory elements may not be changed as judges score routines according to measures of difficulty.

Every 4 years FINA Technical Synchronised Swimming Committee reconsiders possibilities to develop the discipline taking new challenges into account and sets goals for the following 4 years for competitors and the synchro community.  Budapest may see some important decisions by the international organisation, they determine new elements, may overwrite old rules and they might review compulsory technical elements of the previous 4 years. A new period will begin for international synchronised swimming after the World Championships.