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Artistic Swimming 101: Rules and Scoring

Artistic Swimming 101: Rules and Scoring
Posted at 8:29 AM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 15:00:53-04

Artistic swimming routines are performed in front of three panels of five judges. Each panel scores one aspect of the routine. During technical routines, one panel scores execution, one scores impression, and one scores elements. During free routines, one panels scores execution, one scores artistic impression, and one scores difficulty. 

Points

To score a routine, each of the 15 judges uses a scale of 0.0 to 10.0 to grade his/her assigned aspect (0 being a “completely failed”, 10 being a “perfect” score). 

Penalties

During either the technical or free routine, a one-point penalty will be deducted for the following: 

  • The time limit of 10 seconds for deck movements is exceeded. 

  • There is a deviation from the specified time limit allowed for the routine (the routine can be up to 15 seconds longer or shorter than the stated time limit with no penalty). 

  • If the time limit of 30 seconds for the deck walk-on is exceeded. 

  • A competitor has made a deliberate use of the bottom of the pool during the routine. 

A two-point penalty will be deducted for the following: 

  • A competitor has made a deliberate use of bottom of the pool during a routine to assist another competitor. 

  • A routine is interrupted by a competitor during the deck movements and a new start is allowed. 

  • If, during the deck movements, competitors are executing stacks, towers or human pyramids. 

If one (or more) competitor(s) stops swimming before the routine is completed the routine will be disqualified.  If the cessation is caused by circumstances beyond the control of the competitor(s), the Referee shall allow the routine to be re-swam during the session. 

Technical routine scoring breakdown

Elements score counts for 40% and includes execution of the compulsory elements. 

  • Elements - the level of excellence in performing highly specialized skills. Execution of each required element with an assigned degree of difficulty. 

Execution score counts for 30% and includes execution and synchronization of everything but the required elements 

  • Execution - the level of excellence in performing highly specialized skills. Execution of all movements that do not have an assigned degree of difficulty. 

  • Synchronization - the timing of one competitor with others and with the music. 

Impression score counts for 30% and includes difficulty, choreography, manner of presentation and music interpretation. 

  • Difficulty - the quality of being hard to achieve. Difficulty of all movements that do not have an assigned degree of difficulty and of synchronization. 

  • Choreography - the creative skill of composing a routine that combines artistic and technical elements. The design and weaving together of variety and creativity of all movements. 

  • Manner of Presentation - the way the swimmers present the routine to the viewers. The total command of the performance of the routine. 

  • Music Interpretation - expressing the mood of the music, use of the music’s structure. 

Technical routine elements – Duet

In the first phase of the preliminary round, duets must execute six required elements in a specific order within the time limit of 2 minutes, 20 seconds. Duets may perform to the music of their choice. The score from the technical routine accounts for 50 percent of their preliminary score - and, if they advance, 50 percent of their final score. 

The following are the duet technical routine required elements for competition years 2017-2021: 

  1. Vertical full twist (3 rotations) 

  1. Ballet leg sequence 

  1. Fishtail full twist (2 rotations) 

  1. Walkout front 

  1. Thrust 

  1. The routine must contain a lift, jump or throw, this can be placed anywhere in the routine. 

Technical routine elements – Team

A technical routine requires the execution of several required elements in a specific order within the time limit of 2 minutes, 50 seconds. Teams can perform to the music of their choice. The score from the technical routine accounts for 50 percent of the overall ranking. 

The following are the duet technical routine required elements for competition years 2017-2021: 

  1. Thrust 

  1. Full twist (4 rotations) 

  1. Walkover front 

  1. Manta ray hybrid 

  1. Barracuda airborne split 

  1. The routine must contain only two acrobatic* movements: one using all team members, and another two identical acrobatic movements performed simultaneously. These may be placed anywhere in the routine.  

  1. The routine must contain a Cadence Action with either arms, legs or both. This may be placed anywhere in the routine. Cadence Action: Identical movement(s) performed sequentially, one by one, by all team members. 

* Acrobatic movements: A general term for jumps, throws, lifts, stacks, platforms, etc., which are performed as spectacular gymnastic feats and/or risky actions, and are mostly achieved with assistance from other swimmer(s). 

Free Routine scoring breakdown

Execution counts for 30% of the total score and includes execution and synchronization. 

  • Execution - the level of excellence in performing highly specialized skills. Execution of all movements. 

  • Synchronization - the precision of movement in unison, one with the other, and the accompaniment above, at and below the surface. Synchronization of timing of one with another and with music. 

Difficulty counts for 30% of the total score. 

  • Difficulty - the quality of being hard to achieve. Difficulty of all movements and of synchronization. 

Artistic Impression counts for 40% of the total score and includes choreography, music interpretation and manner of interpretation. 

  • Choreography - the creative skill of composing a routine that combines artistic and technical elements. The design and weaving together of variety and creativity of all movements. 

  • Music Interpretation - expressing the mood of the music, use of the music’s structure. 

  • Manner of Interpretation - the way the swimmers present the routine to the viewers. The total command of the performance of the routine.