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Synchronised swimming

This is actually more a parent thread tan a sports one but feel free to contribute. My daughter got into Synchro (as it is called in Spain) about four years ago, lured in with a description of flashy swimming costumes, jazzy make up and trendy dance routines in wáter. The realisty was a bit different from the off. They never mentioned warm up routines of swimming lengths for an hour (from eight years old, some of these were done under wáter) but she loved the team thing, the music and dance etc, so she has ploughed on, though her emthusism has diminished as the training really bites.
She is now ten. She has a training Schedule which has her in the pool on monday, tuesday, thursday and friday evenings, plus a massive saturday bash of four and a half hours, a grand total of 17 hors a week on top of school (and in Spain, she has also been getting homework since age 7, which I naver saw before secondary school). The training is also aimed to olympian perfection. In the aigust sun, she and her team mates were running up and down the beach for hours at a time, as well as the continuing trawling up and down the pool. Now you may argue that Synchro is a physical sport - it is. But the actual competitions she will face winvolve one figure routine in january (the exercise will last around 30 seconds) another in april (same duration) and a team dance routine in june which may get up to two and a half minutes. Seems like an excessive body build up for such a short competition time. I doubt that non league footballers at clubs like Welling, Dartford and Bromley are doing that many hours per week, and they will have to play one or two ninety plus minute matches a week from now till the end of april. Plus their bodies are adult, not a ten year old.
So my question is, is this normal? I played football, but at ten, training was one or two hours a week after school. Are the Spanishpushing their youth too hard or does this sort of stuff go on in the UK? My daughter still likes the sport, but the excuses to avoid training are growing, so burn out is coming, and while I don't like to see her give up something she likes, the day she opts for bádminton and drops this, I'll be a happy daddy.
Just to keep as much info as posible up front, these hours seem to be the norm for the sport- She spent a year at another club, and while they were less fitness obsessed, they still seemed to feel any time not spent training demonstrated a lack of team spirit - 17 hours again. I'd be pleased to hear from other parenets or anyone who knows anything about this, and this morning, the week after my daughter missed two days school after a sport provoked muscle injury, anyone who has an opinión.


  • Know absolutely nothing about the sport but i wouldn't have thought the competition time was relevant. For example how many hours a week/month do sprinters spend training for a race that lasts 10 or 20 seconds?

    I would certainly question what running up and down a beach has to do with synchronised swimming though, if it's for fitness then why not just do a lot of swimming?

    I did find this though.....
  • That was fast work Chris, though I would have to add that this athlete is preparing for the Olympics, a country mile away from where my daughter is.
  • Wouldn't have expected such a sport to have such excess training. As you mention that she is now making excuses to avoid training, have you sat with her and told her it's ok if she wants to leave and try something else?
    It's also a sexist sport that should be banned from the Olympics But that's a different issue :-)
  • Wow, 17 hours? I wasn't even putting that in when marathon training.

    My daughter is 10. She's a budding Gymnast. She's been doing it just over 4 years now, having been inspired by London 2012. She's at advanced standard now which she's been working towards in her last few competitions. The advanced Gymnasts only train 4 hours a week over 2 sessions and have to do 30 mins conditioning and stretching daily (even at that age, they need to keep the body moving!). When they do their floor routines, it only takes about 2 mins, executing the various skills then they have to do two vaults as well. The training is usually 6:30-8:30pm and by the time she gets home she's absolutely knackered and is falling asleep on the doorstep.

    I can imagine Synchro is tough. Being able to perform them moves under water must take a huge effort and the cardio fitness they need must be a very high level. I can understand sufficient training but 17 hours???
  • 17 hours is excessive and will cause burnout.

    Is there not a casual class she could join instead?
  • @DRAddick , yes I hae told her there is no pressure to continue and that my wife and I will both back her if dhe feels it's too much.
    @Dazzler21 , there isn't anything like Synchro light. If there was a b team option, with less hours, I would take it like a shot. Sadly, it's all or nothing and I doubt she'll go beyond this year, which is a pity after all the work she's put in.
  • I'd be careful her schoolwork doesn't begin to suffer. My wife sometimes sees it at her school with kids who train too much for a particular sport.
  • My daughter trains 3 - 5 times per week as a Cross Country skier - this is one of the, if not the hardest of all sports from a physical perspective. Last night before going out trick or treating she was roller skiing for 2 hours with the squad.

    She is 11 - she has a lot of potential - she skis for a club that has produced gold and silver medallist in multiple Olympics.

    We have thought the same as you ken, but we put our trust in the coaches (most of whom are Ex-Olympians). She genuinely seems to enjoy it & the club is very good at engaging the kids socially as well as sporting wise.

    I have no doubt tough days are ahead - I only wish i had been given a chance like this when I was her age.
  • An ex of mine was a UK top 10 senior several years back, so I've had a bit of second-hand background into the rigours of training and have always maintained a passing interest in the sport.

    At the time, she was 18 (the oldest still swimming at the club) and doing three evenings a week plus Sunday afternoons. Saying that, she was one of the more dedicated ones and tried to squeeze training in whenever she could. I believe most others across all age groups did two evenings a week plus a couple of hours at the weekend.

    Spain is one of the top three Synchro nations in the world, so I imagine the national competition standard is insanely high and the volume and intensity of training reflects that, even from a younger age. Back here, participation is relatively low and there are only four or five "big" competition-oriented clubs in the whole country. As such, it's all a bit more casual, especially since funding, and therefore any realistic dream of reaching the Olympics, was totally cut after London 2012.
  • edited November 2016
    Hi Ken,

    Dave B trained spent many hours a week whilst running and reached a modest standard of club running! He's taken the Triathlon training to a new level, with coaching for swimming but hasn't got a 25m swimming badge yet! If Dave's reading this, then I'm only joking.
    Steve managed decent running times, on limited training so he would always question this, the Chinese would see opposite. If she's happy stick with it, great if not stop and do something less boring instead:)
    Teach her painting!
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  • I think it's becoming more common as sport 'develops' to see more time dedicated to training than before. The most important thing is that she continues to enjoy it. I used to see kids down the driving range when I was playing golf regularly - some of them were literally hitting 300 balls in a session trying to 'groove' their swing, but didn't appear to be getting any enjoyment out of it whatsoever.

    One thing I will say though - since taking up cycling a couple of years ago and discovering that I was reasonably good at it and really enjoyed it, it has irked me somewhat that I never found it earlier in life. If a child has a natural talent for something, it doesn't necessarily follow that they'll enjoy it - but it's far more likely that they will, and hence far more likely that they'll want to dedicate a lot of time to getting better.

    I've seen crit races this year where some kids turn up to the junior race and absolutely love it - whereas some really look like they couldn't give a shit and would rather be doing something else but are there because their dad or mum is pushing them. Those parents should be ashamed.
  • Just a point about the Spanish Syncro team. They were definately among the top nations for the last few years, which, like London 2012, was a major point in promoting the sport, and I amigine some of the current training ethic reflects that.
    However, they may be about to experience a severe drop. The team event weren't represented at Rio 2016. During qualifying, their best swimmer suffered a dizzy spell and couldn't compete, and the rest of the team for some reason had no substitute so couldn't qualify. They did qualify for the duo event. However, there was a spat between Ona Carbonell and the youngster who had joined her, and the youngster was pushed out to make way for the recently retired and 40+ years Gemma Mengual. they did a nice routine and finished around 7th, but were never in place for a medal, and also missed the chance to give some experience to the next generation. I don't know but do wonder what level the next generation are when that sort of thing happens, but they may well drop a way down the ratings in the near future.
  • My daughter undertook competitive swimming training from the age of 10 and was in the pool at 5.30 every morning for up to two hours and 4 evenings a week for two hours. On a daily basis she swam approx. 5 to 7k and undertook land training which included strength exercise general fitness. Saturday was normally competitions and back in the pool Sunday morning for a couple of hours. So roughly 50k -70k swum in a week. All the kids in the squad were expected to do that. Some thrived on it and it focused their attention on academia (My daughter is undertaking a 4 year post Graduate course at the moment in a medical related subject) some fell by the way side. She was not GB squad standard but did swim against some of the current GB squad in national competition

    If it gets to much and the academic side fails then take suitable action ( if she is Olympic standard talk to the school ) if she is not then favour the academic side.

    This is unfortunately the level of training that a lot of the sports require these days and although my daughter only swims for leisure these days it is amusing to hear that she can beat her boyfriend over any distance and any stroke by a country mile. The fitness bug once learned doesn't appear to leave.
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