Power and Precision: How to Support what Happens Under the Water in Artistic Swimming

Imagine completing your hardest workout and maintaining a smile throughout its entire duration.

Synchronized swimming is a sport that is all smiles and precision above the water and powerful, dynamic, expertly executed movements below. The development of the artistic performance requires long days of training in the pool. High performance in this demanding sport requires strength, power, endurance, flexibility, and aerobic capacity.


I am an Athletic Therapist and I have recently joined Acumen Health after working almost 15 years with Cirque du Soleil. The most recent 5 years were spent at “O” at the Bellagio. Here we had a group of nearly 20 performers who participated in Synchronized swimming from all around the world. They performed 2 times a night, 5 days a week and completed upwards of 480 shows in a year. This was a high, constant workload and our Performance Medicine team worked together to support their performance and reduce their risk of injury. Acumen Health has a team of professionals ready to support performance as well as return an athlete to performance following an injury.

Strategies to Reduce Injury Risk

Focused Exercise Planning

To support this high demand sport an athlete should participate in dry land training that is specifically focused to the requirements of their sport. Focused exercises and good mechanics on land will reduce the risk of injury. Individual programs would be planned with frequent risk factors in mind. Core, hip, and posterior chain (muscles on the back side of your body) activities support eggbeater movements. Good shoulder blade (scapula) mechanics, shoulder strength, and upper spine (thoracic) mobility support sculling and rapid precise arm movements. Both of these units working together to support these movements protect the athlete’s neck and back.


Workload Management

Managing injuries when they did inevitably arise required a detailed collaborative plan to successfully return an athlete to performance. Workload volume and physical requirements were carefully considered when returning an athlete following a significant injury. Here at Acumen, we have a team of Athletic Therapists and Strength and Conditioning Coaches who can help make those decisions in conjunction with a team’s own coach. Preparedness to return is based on physical measure, return of skill as well and mental preparation.


Performance Testing

Sports performance tests measure how your body performs during exercise and activity and provides valuable data for your training. Our sports performance tests will help you get a better understanding of your body so you know where and how to improve. We look for asymmetries and imbalance in strength and ranges of motion. These measures are great for goal setting and tracking the progress of your hard work.


Treatment of Injuries

When injuries happen, we have a team of Athletic Therapists who work in close collaboration with an Orthopedic Physician to plan and execute a path for recovery.

Here at Acumen, the Reconditioning and Performance teams are made up of Athletic Therapists, Strength and Conditioning Coaches, Kinesiologists and a Mental Performance coach. This dynamic team works in close collaboration with Dr. Jesse Slade Shantz. We are a combined team with one goal in mind. Our goal is to support the patient’s desired outcome.

From athlete to artist- Cirque du Soleil’s Synchronized Swimming