The Ohio State synchronized swimming team began as the Ohio State Swan Club in 1928. The program was established by a group of university students interested in form swimming and diving.
The team started with open swimming and by the 1930s, it developed into a production team that put on water shows. The 1940s brought about the first judged competitions between schools.
In the early 1950s, the squad gained support through coverage in Ohio State’s Makio Yearbook. As the program expanded, the schedule grew to about five or six competitions a year in the 1960s.
The 1960s saw the introduction of the Midwest Championships, as well as many more shows and demonstrations. In 1969, the Ohio State synchronized swimming team captured its first Midwest Championship title under the leadership of head coach Hollis Matson.
Since the Collegiate National Championships began in 1977, the Buckeye program has been supreme in its success, winning 24 national titles.
A Look at the Scoring
Synchronized swimming events consist of one of three scoring formats: figures and free routine, technical and free routines or figures and technical and free routines. International events primarily use technical and free routines.
This scoring procedure involves required technical elements that must be performed in a series. Teams choose their own music and add additional choreography, but must perform elements in a certain order.
In this competition, there are no restrictions on music, choreography or elements.
A panel of 10 judges award scores from zero to 10 in one-tenth point increments. Five judges evaluate technical merit, while the other five judges evaluate artistic impression, though as many as seven judges may be used on each panel.
Technical merit consists of three major components:
Execution: The perfection of swimming strokes, propulsion techniques, figures, patterns and transitions.
Synchronization: The ability to match one with the other and to move with the music.
Difficulty: The height of movements above the water, the complexity and multiplicity of the movements, the strength required, the length of time movements required and the complexity of synchronization.
Artistic impression consists of three components:
Choreography: The variety and creativity of movements, transitions, fluidity, patterns and pool usage.
Music Interpretation: The use of movement to interpret the music, its dynamics and rhythms.
Manner of Presentation: The poise with which the routine is presented, the ability to communicate through the choreography and the seeming effortlessness of the performance.
The highest and lowest of the scores awarded in each category are canceled and the remaining scores are averaged by the number of judges less two.
The technical merit point total is multiplied by six and the artistic impression score is multiplied by four. The total of these two numbers equals the final routine score.
During competition, a competitor will swim the preliminary free routine, the technical routine and a final free routine. The score from the preliminary free routine is weighted 65 percent and the technical routine score is weighted 35 percent to determine the event’s finalists.
In the finals, the preliminary free routine score is replaced by the final free routine score.
The final free and technical routine scores are then weighted and added to reach the overall final score.