Synchronized swimming is often a topic of great debate and comes with many stereotypes. Whenever I mention that I used to do synchro or that I am a current synchro coach, people often have a lot of questions. I always have to brace myself for the stupidity that comes along with said questions.
1. If one of you drowns, do you all drown?
No. Just no. This is always one of the first questions they ask. The people that ask always think they are so clever when really, every synchronized swimmer has heard this about a hundred times. If one of us drowns, we do not all drown with them. We stop swimming and save our teammate (but only after the ref blows the whistle so we can get another swim-through, of course).
2. You have to gel your hair and wear makeup?
Yes, yes, yes. What you've heard is true. The glitter, the makeup? That, I love. The gel? That took a few years to come to terms with.
3. What stroke do you swim?
Synchronized swimmers do not have a special stroke. We swim everything. You are thinking of the wrong sport.
4. How long can you hold your breath?
Is that a challenge? Because I will win.
5. How do you stay synchronized when you are underwater?
Every time I am asked this question, I always have to explain that we have underwater speakers or we use tappers. The person I am talking to always makes this face where you can tell they are a little disappointed. It's like when you explain a magic trick to a little kid. It makes sense, but you were kind of hoping it was still magic. They always seem a little less impressed with the sport after they learn about the underwater speakers. Speakers aside, synchro is still pretty tough.
6. Isn't that a sport for old people?
Do I look old? Do my teammates look old? Does the 10-and-under team look old?
7. Doesn't that take up a lot of time?
If it is competition season, there is no chance in hell that I have free time. I eat, breathe, and sleep synchro. Actually, I take that back. Synchronized swimmers don't breathe.
8. Isn't synchro just like dancing in the water?
Just? JUST? Um, no. Combine of swimming, dancing, and gymnastics, add a bucket of glitter, a dash of pixie dust, and pinch of sugar, spice, and everything nice, and then you will get synchro.
9. But you can touch the bottom, right?
Touching bottom is like a crime against humanity in this sport and it will result in huge penalties. It is a crime to even think of touching bottom.
10. Is synchro really a sport?
I can't even begin to address this question without writing an essay, so I won't.