The History of Synchronised Swimming…


1891 – First recorded ‘Water Ballet’ competition took place in Berlin, Germany.

1907 – Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman performed the first ever display of water ballet in a glass tank, in New York.

1933 – Katherine Whitney Curtis put together a show ‘The Kay Curtis Modern Mermaids’ for the World Exhibition in Chicago, introducing the sport as Synchronised Swimming for the first time.

1940’s – Esther Williams, unable to compete at the 1940’s Summer Olympic Games due to the outbreak of the second World War, joins Billy Rose’s ‘Aquacade’ and goes on to star in a series of Hollywood ‘Aquamusicals’, featuring elaborate scenes of synchronised swimming and diving.

1952 – First demonstration of synchronised swimming at the summer Olympic games in Helsinki.

1959 – Annette Kellerman and Katherine Curtis officially recognised by the Helms Hall of Fame for the development of Synchronised Swimming.

1962 – A demonstration of Synchronised Swimming was performed at the Empire Games in Perth, WA and remains an optionally included event in Commonwealth Games Competition.

1968 – Synchronised swimming became officially recognised by FINA as the fourth water sport next to swimming, platform diving and water polo.

1970’s – Synchronised swimming becomes popularised in WA, being promoted and taught by Daphne Roberts who sourced and imported education resources from Canada.  Daphne’s contribution to our sport will always be acknowledged and appreciated and is recognized every year at the presentation of the ‘Roberts Memorial Shield’.

1984 – Synchronised Swimming finally recognised as an official Olympic sport.

1996 – Solo and duet competitions dropped from Olympic competition in favour of team competitions.

2000 – Summer Olympics; duet competition was restored and is now featured alongside the team competition.

2015 – Following the addition of a new mixed-pair event, FINA World Aquatics competitions open open to men*.


*Other international and national competitions allow male competitors in every event. However, men are currently still barred from competing in the Olympics. Both USA Synchro and Synchro Canada allow men to compete with women. Most European countries allow men to compete also, France even allows male only podiums, according to the number of participants. In the past decade more men are becoming involved in the sport and a global biannual competition called Men’s Cup has been steadily growing.
[source Wikipedia]


Pictured above: Jayne, Julia, Jenny Twogood and Rosalie holding the first ever synchro medal (bronze) won by WA.

This photo was taken at Beatty Park.

Synchronised Swimming in Western Australia,

Daphne Roberts and the Roberts Memorial Shield



Roberts Memorial Shield The Roberts Memorial Shield is a trophy awarded every year to the highest scoring Junior Athlete. It is named for one of WA’s founders of Synchro, Mrs. Daphne Roberts.

During the 1970’s Daphne promoted and taught the sport in WA as she was convinced of its value to women of all ages for healthy exercise and enjoyment. She gained her knowledge by studying Canadian coaching expertise, sourcing all the music, education materials, underwater speakers and even importing 16mm black and white films to show her swimmers overseas choreography. All of these resources she gave freely and generously to anyone who showed interest.

Daphne has 3 daughters – the eldest, Rosalie, won the State Gold Medal in 1971, then represented WA in the 1972 Nationals in Melbourne. Rosalie competed in Sydney in the 1973 Nationals as WA Captain/Coach (the team bought back the first ever Nationals medal for WA – a bronze medal in the team event). Younger twins Julia and Jayne switched from competitive speed swimming and went on to win bronze in the duet event at the 1974 Nationals – the first duet medal for WA.

Daphne’s contribution to Synchronised Swimming in the State of Western Australia will always be acknowledged and appreciated.