Overhead shot of eight artistic swimmers doing arm movements

Artistic Swimming

Team Canada Medal Count

Gold medal icon 3
Silver medal icon 4
Bronze medal icon 1

Sport Overview

Artistic Swimming at Paris 2024

Venue: Aquatics Centre

Competition Dates: August 5-7, 9-10 (Days 10-12, 14-15)

Events: 2 (2 women)

Trivia: Test your knowledge! 

An artistic swimming does a backflip in the air abover her teammates

Formerly known as synchronized swimming, artistic swimming is one of two sports (along with rhythmic gymnastics) that are contested only by women at the Olympic Games.

There are two events on the program: duet and team.

Both events feature two types of routines: technical and free. As their names indicate, technical routines include required elements which must be performed in a specific order while free routines may consist of any figures and strokes. Both routines exhibit the defining aspect of artistic swimming – unified movement in time to music.

Each routine is evaluated by three panels of five judges. In technical routines, these panels separately score the execution (including synchronization) for 30 per cent of the routine score, the impression (including difficulty, choreography, and music interpretation) worth 30 per cent, and the elements (including execution and synchronization) worth 40 per cent.

Jacqueline Simoneau and Claudia Holzner compete in the duet free routine at Lima 2019

In free routines, the panels separately evaluate the execution (including synchronization) for 30 per cent of the routine score, the artistic impression (including choreography and music interpretation) worth 40 per cent, and the difficulty of all movements worth 30 per cent.

Each judge awards points from 0 to 10 using tenths of a point. For example, a routine deemed to be perfect would score a 10. An excellent routine would be scored 9.0 to 9.4. A good routine will fall in the 7.0 to 7.9 range. A very weak routine would be scored from 2.0 to 2.9.

In the duet competition, the scores from a preliminary free routine and the technical routine are added together to determine the top 12 pairs to advance to the final. They perform a final free routine with those scores added to the technical routine scores to determine the final results. Duet technical routines are two minutes 20 seconds while duet free routines are three minutes (plus or minus 15 seconds).

Eight artistic swimmers perform arm movements above the water

The team competition includes a technical routine and a free routine, with final results based on the combined scores from both. Team technical routines are two minutes 50 seconds while team free routines are four minutes (plus or minus 15 seconds). All routine times include 10 seconds for deck movement prior to the swimmers diving into the water.

Canada’s Olympic Artistic Swimming History (Pre-Paris 2024)

Canada has won eight Olympic medals in artistic swimming. In the sport’s debut at Los Angeles 1984, Carolyn Waldo won silver in the solo event while Sharon Hambrook and Kelly Kryczka added a silver in the duet. Four years later, Waldo was Canada’s only double medallist at Seoul 1988, winning gold in the solo and in the duet with partner Michelle Cameron.

Carolyn Waldo and Michelle Cameron each raise an arm in their synchronized swimming routine

Canada won two more medals at Barcelona 1992, highlighted by Sylvie Fréchette’s solo gold. Initially awarded silver due to a judge mistakenly entering an erroneous score, Fréchette received her gold medal in late 1993. Twins Vicky and Penny Vilagos added a silver in the duet, Canada was also on the podium at the first two Games to include the team event, winning silver at Atlanta 1996 and bronze at Sydney 2000.

Canada has competed in every Olympic artistic swimming event with the exception of the team event at Rio 2016.

Eight synchronized swimmers in three lines perform arm movements in the water

Olympic Artistic Swimming History

When artistic swimming joined the Olympic program at Los Angeles 1984, it included solo and duet events. Those events were also contested at Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992. At Atlanta 1996, the program changed to only include a team event, with eight athletes per team. Starting at Sydney 2000, there were once again two events as the duet was added back to the Olympic program.

Canadian Medallists

Event Athlete Finish Games
Solo - WomenCarolyn WaldoGoldSeoul 1988
Duet - WomenCarolyn Waldo, Michelle CameronGoldSeoul 1988
Solo - WomenSylvie FréchetteGoldBarcelona 1992
Duet - WomenKelly Kryczka, Sharon HambrookSilverLos Angeles 1984
Solo - WomenCarolyn WaldoSilverLos Angeles 1984
Duet - WomenPenny Vilagos, Vicky VilagosSilverBarcelona 1992
Team - WomenCari Read, Christine Larsen, Erin Woodley, Janice Bremner, Karen Clark, Karen Fonteyne, Kasia Kulesza, Lisa Alexander, Sylvie Fréchette, Valerie Hould-MarchandSilverAtlanta 1996
Team - WomenCatherine Garceau, Claire Carver-Dias, Erin Chan, Fanny Létourneau, Jacinthe Taillon, Jessica Chase, Kirstin Normand, Lyne Beaumont, Reidun TathamBronzeSydney 2000