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]