A simple guide on how to create an artistic swimming routine that is in line with the new rules introduced by FINA.
Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/healthy-sea-vacation-water-9617736/
New FINA rules revolutionized artistic swimming world with new restrictions and even more detailed requirements in all age categories. A new approach to synchro choreography creation should be taken, but it can get confusing on where to start at first.
As an artistic swimming coach I had a pleasure to choreograph team, duet and solo routines in alliance with the new guidelines. After attending seminars focusing on the new rules and analyzing the most common mistakes in the choreography creation, I came up with a system that works best for me and is very simple to follow. By implementing my carefully crafted strategy, you will be choreographing your routines much faster and more efficient than ever before.
Creating a creative and captivating artistic swimming routine according to the new FINA rules might seem like an impossible task. Let me help you out. You are just 7 simple steps away from making your own unique routine that is 100% in line with the new rules.
Step #1 - Pick your music or theme
This step is quite similar to the way the old choreographies were done. The choice of music is still a vital part of any artistic swimming routine. The piece you pick will lead you through the routine from the beginning to the end.
It is usually a good idea to think of themes that would go well with the piece of music you chose. Having a common theme will help you stay on track when creating the new moves.
If no themes come to mind, try to think of emotions that emerge when you listen to your choice of music. Try to think of movements that can mirror them.
Don't be afraid to be creative!
The judges will pay extra credit to interesting and unique moves.
If you are looking for music ideas, follow my Spotify Playlist I made for all types of solos.
I add new songs there on regular basis.
Step #2 - Cut your music
Once you select your music, it is time to cut it to the desired length. You might be using one song only or there might be a need to mix a few songs together. No matter of your choice, make sure that the transitions are as smooth as possible.
Remember: there is only +/- 5 seconds allowance for all routines.
A free and uncomplicated software for all music related needs I have been using is Audacity.
Download your link here:
Step #3 - Check the required number of elements
Make sure that you know how many hybrids and extra elements should be placed in your routine. Those requirements change, depending on the age category.
For not following the stated guideline there will be a penalty of 2 points applied.
If you are unsure of the needed elements head to FINA website.
Step #4 - Plan the timing and placement of the required elements
Once you know the compulsory elements that need to be placed in your routine, you can move on to planning it. Listen to the final version of the music you created and write down the placement and timing of all the hybrids and acrobatics.
This way you can plan the basic mark of your elements in the routine in advance. You will also know the exact time you will have for all the transitions.
Step #5 - Plan the desired difficulty of your hybrids
It is almost time to start choreographing your synchro routine. But first, check the difficulty table (uploaded by FINA) and circle the elements you would like to include in the hybrid you are working on. This will allow you to choreograph and work on the coach's card at the same time.
Pay attention to how many times a particular family of moves can be done in one hybrid. You can include more moves from the same family in your choreography. Just be mindful that when filling out the coach's card, you should only declare the ones with the highest level of difficulty.
Example: you would like to include 3 elements that are in the Airborne Weight Family. First element is on level 3, second on level 2 and third on level 3. As you can only declare two elements that fall into the Airborne Weight Family, you should only write down the two elements on level 3.
Step #6 - Start choreographing
Finally, it is time to choreograph your routine!
It is generally a good idea to start from the beginning and gradually progress through the planned by you earlier hybrids one by one. There are instances that you do not have an idea for the beginning yet, but have a clear vision for that third hybrid. It is ok to start from there! The ideas will keep flowing and everything will fall into place once you experiment with the choreography.
Just remember that not all moves from the difficulty table have to be in your hybrids. It is usually better to stick to a high difficulty in your routine, but allow some moves to fall into the artistic impression category. Make sure that the choreography fits you and your moves feel and look natural.
Step #7 - Draw your pool pattern
Don't forget to think about your pool pattern. Usually when choreographing the hybrids and transitions I like to think about the pool pattern at the same time. It is important to know when, how much and which direction you are going to travel.
It is generally a good idea to drawn the pool coverage on the piece of paper or in a word document on your computer. Make sure you include all the directions of your travel.
You can also clearly outline the direction the swimmer is going to look. This will help you in understanding if there is enough contact from the swimmer with the judges.
New rules shouldn't stop you from creating unique movements.
Choreographing in accordance with the difficulty guide might seem like there is not much scope for creativity. Just remember that not all moves have to fit into the difficulty score. Enjoy the process!
If you are still unsure on how to build your own routine reach out on my social media or email me your questions.
If you are in need of creative and unique routine and don't have time or ideas for your choreography. Request a solo/duet choreography in my Programs. I specialize in highly tailored to the swimmer choreographies that will fit your level of experience and proficiency in the sport! The routine will be just right for you!
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About the author
My name is Agata and I have been an artistic swimming coach for over seven years. I have coached athletes from various countries from all age categories and levels of proficiency in the sport. Before sharing my knowledge online I have gained experience as a coach and a judge in various countries in Europe. I was a head coach for master swimmers in one of the clubs in London, leading the team to 6th place at the World Championships. I also worked as an assistant coach for the Youth and Junior National Teams in Switzerland and participated in the first Youth World Championship as an Icelandic soloist's coach. In 2021 I have been a head coach for the U10 category and dominated at all competitions throughout the season in all categories. I have obtained my masters degree in psychology at the University of Derby in the UK.
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