The Olympic sport of synchronized swimming is coming to Qatar for the first time, as part of a wider initiative to set up a local team here.
Trial classes, dubbed Sync-Ro, will take place at Aspire Dome swimming pool on National Sport Day (Feb. 10) as part of a program of sport-related events hosted by Aspire Zone.
Leading the initiative is Italian expat Sara Spadoni, 28, who was a professional synchronized swimmer in Italy for 10 years before retiring due to injuries, as well as to allow her to reduce her five-hours-a-day training schedule to focus on university studies.
Spadoni has had the goal of setting up a synchronized swim team in Qatar since she moved to the country on National Sport Day a year ago, after coaching a young girls’ team in Milan.
It would make Qatar only the second Gulf country after the UAE to have a team practicing the sport, and would expand the nation’s offering for activities particularly aimed at young women.
Spadoni told Doha News:
“I want to raise awareness of synchronized swimming here and to help people understand what it’s all about. It is a sport, but also an art form. It’s feminine but yet powerful and is a great sport for young women to do.
“I thought it would be ideal as it is supporting more women and young people to take up sports. It is an Olympic sport, and if Qatar wants to take part on the international sporting circuit, it should have all Olympic sports here.”
What is it?
Combining swimming, dance and gymnastics, synchronized swimming can be performed solo, in pairs, small groups or larger teams and involves elaborate sequences performed to music. The swimmers are judged on their strength, flexibility and endurance, as well as their ability to perform their moves in complete synchronization.
Spadoni’s aim is to attract some young women to the sport through the initial trial classes, then hopefully to have enough interest to set up a squad, which would meet two or three times weekly, and start training.
“There is a real trend here of empowering women to try new challenges, and to get involved in sports, and I wanted to be part of it,” she added.
The sport is governed internationally by FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation), which already organizes a number of events in Qatar including the 25m World Swimming Championships which were held in Doha in December. It became an Olympic sport in 1984 and now teams and duets compete for medals in the tournament.
The trial lessons are open to girls aged 8-16 years who have reasonable swimming abilities and would like to try their hand at the sport.
There will be two sessions, each two-hours long, at 9am and 3pm, which are free of charge and residents can reserve one of 30 available places by emailing the event organizers – [email protected]. Participants should bring their own swim suits, cap, shorts, t-shirt and goggles.