U.S. Synchronized Swimming History
Annette Kellerman attracted national attention at the New York Hippodrome as the first underwater ballerina by performing water ballet.
Kay Curtis instituted synchronized swimming as an integral part of the University of Wisconsinís physical education program.
The first-known synchronized swimming competition in the United States was a dual meet between Wright Junior College and the Chicago Teacher's College held May 27, 1939, at Wright Junior College in Iowa.
Eleanor Holm, 1936 Olympian, performed at the World's Fair in New York, popularizing synchronized swimming nationwide.
Esther Williams, U.S. 100-meter freestyle champion and Olympic contender, was credited for popularizing synchronized swimming in the United States through her performances at the World's Fair in San Francisco and subsequent MGM movies.
The AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) adopted synchronized swimming as an official competitive sport for duet and team events. The first Synchronized Swimming Championship was held March 1, 1940, in Willamette, Ill. Because of World War II, no national events were held again until 1946.
The first AAU Senior National Synchronized Swimming Championship was held August 11, 1946, in Chicago, Ill., with only the team event. The duet event was held September 8, 1946 in Hinsdale, Ill.
The solo event was added to the program of events in 1950. June Taylor of Ontario, Canada, won the indoor solo title while Beulah Gundling of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won the outdoor solo title.
U.S. Solo and Duet champions, Beulah Gundling, Connie Todoroff and Shirley Simpson, demonstrated synchro at the first Pan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Beulah Gundling demonstrated solo and the Detroit Synchronized Swimmers demonstrated the duet and team events at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland.
FINA (International Aquatics Federation) organized, with synchronized swimming as a competitive division of aquatics.
The Pan American Games in Mexico City, Mexico included synchro as an official event for the first time. The U.S. won all three events in its first official international competition.
The first age group rules and competition were set up in the United States. Synchronized swimmers from Athens Club of Oakland, Calif., demonstrated at the Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.
The first Junior Olympic rules and program began. Annette Kellerman and Kay Curtis were honored in the U.S. Synchronized Swimming Hall of Fame.
Pam Morris was the first synchronized swimmer accepted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
The first National Junior Olympic Championship was held in Norfolk, Virginia.
The first World Synchronized Swimming Conference was held in Ottawa, Canada. American Kathy Kretschmer won the World Solo Invitational competition held in conjunction with the seminar.
The first World Aquatic Championship was held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Led by four-time gold-medal winner Teresa Anderson, the U.S. team swept all events and their gold medals pushed the U.S. Aquatic team (swimming, diving, water polo and synchro) to the overall victory at the Championships.
The first Masters National Championship was held in Reading, Pa.
AIAW intercollegiate National Championships were held for the first time in Lansing, Mich.
The first National Sports Festival, under the auspices of the United States Olympic Committee, was held in Pueblo, Colo. Synchronized Swimming selected 10 swimmers from each zone for East, West, North and South teams. Swimmers were selected from the figures results of the previous National Championships. Congress passed the Amateur Sports Act mandating a new independent structure for amateur sport in the United States.
Synchronized Swimming incorporated as the National Governing Body for the sport of Synchronized Swimming, known as United States Synchronized Swimming, Inc. Based on the success of the previous year's Sports Festival, the United States established its first National Team.
The first American Cup was held in Concord, Calif. The U.S. team won All events. The IOC accepted the duet event for the 1984 Olympic Games.
United States Synchronized Swimming, Inc. established its National Headquarters at the U.S. Olympic Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo. Paula Oyer was hired as its first executive director. The first International. Age Group Trials were held in Santa Clara, Calif.
U.S. and Canadian National Teams performed before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and National Olympic Committee representatives at the IOC meeting in Los Angeles, Calif. U.S. Synchronized Swimming, Inc. relocated its National headquarters to Indianapolis to launch a nationwide grassroots development program funded by the Lilly Endowment.
The International Olympic Committee officially accepted the solo event into the 1984 Olympic Games two months before the Games began. Synchronized Swimming premiered at the XXIII Olympiad in Los Angeles, Calif. Tracie Ruiz and Candy Costie won the first Olympic medals in the duet event. Ruiz captured an additional gold medal a day later in the solo event. Sarah Josephson, alternate, was sixth in figures. The three athletes were coached by Charlotte Davis. Olympic Manager was Gail Emery. Ruiz and Costie attained their first perfect International Routine score at the Rome Open II in Rome. U.S.S.S. adopted a Coaches' Certification Program and hired a full-time national coach to oversee National Team programs.
FINA World Cup is held in America for the first time.
The United States captured all events at the 1987 Pan American Games and the team title at the FINA World Cup.
At the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul, Korea, U.S. Team members Trade Ruiz Conforto and Karen and Sarah Josephson, won silver medals in the solo and duet competitions.
The United States, for the first time since 1975, swept an events at the IV FINA World Cup in Paris. The first FINA Junior World Championship was held in California, Colombia, with the U.S. Team sweeping all events.
The United States wins the Solo and Duet title at the sports Goodwill Games' debut.
At the XI World Aquatic Championships in Perth, Australia, the U.S. Team captures the World Team title. Karen and Sarah Josephson win their first-ever World Duet title. Based on their performances, the United States is now ranked number one in the world. The IOC voted to replace the solo and duet events with the team competition starting at the 1996 Olympic Games. At the V FINA World Cup, the U.S. Team captures the gold medal, Karen and Sarah Josephson with their first FINA World Cup title.
At the XXV Olympiad in Barcelona, Spain, the U.S. team sweeps gold medals in both events. Kristen Babb-Sprague is crowned solo champion. Karen and Sarah Josephson dominate the duet competition to win their first-ever Olympic gold medal.
The United States wins all events at the VI Synchronized Swimming World Cup. America's Becky Dyroen-Lancer has her second grand slam performance of the year winning gold medals in solo, duet, team and figures.
Team USA sweeps all events at the VII World Aquatic Championships in Rome. Once again, Becky Dyroen-Lancer leads the Americans with another grand slam performance. Dyroen-Lancer wins more gold medals than any other American at the Games which includes swimming, diving, and water polo.
For the second consecutive time, Team USA, led by Becky Dyroen-Lancer, sweeps the NationsBank Synchronized Swimming World Cup in Atlanta. Dyroen-Lancer records her ninth consecutive grand slam. At the Olympic Qualifying event held at the conclusion of the World Cup, the United States sets a new record by receiving a perfect score of ten 10s. It is the first time this has ever been done in a major international competition. U.S. Synchronized Swimming selects its first-ever 10-member Olympic team for the 1996 Games.
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