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Tuesday, September 19
Synchronized Swimming Fan Guide

IN THE CROSSHAIRS puts Olympic synchronized swimming In the Crosshairs with our interactive fan guide feature. Check out each sport's fan guide for more In the Crosshairs looks at the Olympic sports.

Synchronized swimming in the Crosshairs

Olympic competition dates: Sept. 24-29
Venue: Sydney International Aquatic Centre

The outlook
Women-only event was an exhibition sport from 1948 to 1968. Debuted as a full medal sport at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Judging of technical routine and free routine is similar to figure skating.

The United States and Canada won every gold and silver medal in the first four Olympic competitions, but their leading swimmers retired after Atlanta. Russia and Japan emerged as the new leaders at the world championships two years ago.

The finer points
Format: Swimmers have to hold their breaths for long periods, with up to 60 percent of their routine performed underwater. Synchronized swimming consists of technical and free routine competitions, accounting for 35 percent and 65 percent of the final score, respectively. For the technical portion, swimmers perform specified moves, which include twirls, thrusts, boosts and rockets, without touching the bottom of the pool. Judges look for height, synchronization and degree of difficulty.

Equipment: Nose guards to keep out water, gel to keep hair in place and underwater speakers to hear the music.

Olympic revival: The duet event will return with 24 pairs participating. Eight teams also will compete.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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