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Artistic Swimming Competition 101

Learn what to expect at an Artistic Swimming competition here!

✩Things to prepare before your first meet:

  1. Black swimsuit (for figures)
  2. Yellow Austin Angelfish swim cap
  3. White swim cap (for figures)- the team has extras
  4. Nose clips - bring extras
  5. Goggles - bring extras
  6. Towels - you might want a few
  7. Austin Synchro shirt and black shorts for awards
  8. Knox box
  • A good long handled fine tooth comb and a hairbrush
  • 6 strong hairbands
  • Several tiny rubber bands
  • Small V-pins
  • Large V-pins if you have long hair
  • At least 3 hairnets
  • 6 hair clips
  • A paper or styrofoam coffee cup
  • 4 packets of knox for each anticipated routine swim
  • Wooden stirrers
  • Bobby pins
  • An old towel to protect your swimmer’s neck
  • A pair of gloves if you like to knox with your hands
  • A paintbrush or stiff basting brush if you don't like to knox with your hands

How to Knox

  • Wet hair
  • Secure hair in high, smooth, tight ponytail
  • Braid hair in 2-4 braids (thick hair – 2, thin hair – 3-4)
  • Wind braids to make bun – secure with hairnet and V-pins
  • Mix knox – 3-4 packets in cup THEN add small amount hot water
  • STIR! You can always add more water, but you can’t add more knox.
  • Apply clips if needed for bangs/short hairs
  • Apply knox to hair – top, sides, back while avoiding skin
  • Pin head piece with bobby pins

Check out these two video tutorials:

MAC synchro posted this knoxing video (note: we don't usually knox our buns)

MAC How to Knox Your Hair for Synchronized Swimming

USA Artistic Swimming National team head coach Andrea Fuentes uses pre-prepared gelatin:

Synkrolover's La Gelatina

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Competition day

✩Meet day schedules:

Keep an eye out for your coach to tell you when your swimmer needs to be at the pool. It might be hours before the scheduled competition time, but there is lots to do on competition day - finding a place to put your swim bag, warming up and stretching, decking routines, warming up in the water, practicing walk out and deck work, going to the bathroom, knoxing, make up, putting on your competition suit and more! AND, Artistic Swimming competitions will move ahead of schedule if they can.

✩Traveling and staying in a hotel with teammates:

All swimmers are required to stay at the hotel selected by the team at away meets. There are several reasons for this including - it helps everyone get to the right place at the right time, schedules can change, so having everyone together makes communicating much easier, it is required that we use host hotels at National meets, and more!

Swimmers must stay with a buddy when at a hotel or a pool. The coaches need to know where all swimmers are at all times.

✩General flow of a competition:

Parents are not allowed on the pool deck during competitions.

FIGURES: All younger swimmers compete 4 figures at each competition. A figure is a slow controlled movement performed one swimmer at a time in front of a panel of judges. Swimmers will be getting out of the water and waiting before they perform each figure. The Angelfish support each other at figures competitions with the Big Sister/Little Sister program, so an older swimmer will help younger swimmers figure out where to go. Each judge scores the figure and the scores are averaged. Scoring is out of 10 points, so brand new swimmers should expect to score 2’s, 3’s and 4’s as they are just learning them. While figures competition is going on, the pool will be quiet so the judges can hear the caller say the swimmer’s number and figure they are competing and scorers can hear the scores to record.

ROUTINES: Swimmers can compete in team, solo, duet, combo, or highlight routines. At a competition, all age groups will compete in each category. So, if solos are scheduled for Saturday morning, novices and intermediates and age group swimmers will compete in all age groups (12 and under, 13-15, Junior/Senior or 16-19). Then the competition will move on to duets or teams. This means that there will be some downtime during every competition.

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For More Information

To join beginner classes or the Austin Angelfish team, please email Cheryl Cook, Head Coach at [email protected]

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