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New name causes ‘artistic’ stink

Posted at 11:30am Sunday 06 Aug, 2017


Creatives or synchros? Zyleika Pratt-Smith (left) and Karlina Steiner, both 13. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

What's in a name? The quote from ‘Romeo and Juliet' suggests a name is just a label and doesn't create worth nor true meaning.

A rose looks beautiful and smells sweet no matter what you call it.

Synchronised swimming doesn't buy that. And especially not in Tauranga.

Because FINA, the international swimming federation which oversees global water sports like swimming, diving, water polo, synchro, high diving and open water events, has arbitrarily changed the name of synchronised swimming to artistic swimming.

That's a decision that has rippled all the way to Baywave. And the normally placid and creative sport combining swimming, flexibility, strength and stamina, is rearing up in defiance.

“Business as usual,” insists Shirley Hooper, chair of Tauranga Synchro and chair of Synchro Swim NZ. Notice there's no use of the word ‘artistic' there. Not yet and maybe never. “We will continue to call out sport synchronised swimming, which is what it's known for.”

What irked, it seems, was that FINA chose not to discuss a potential name change. ”If they had, there would have been an overwhelming rejection of the idea,” says Shirley. FINA apparently chose to vote on the issue at a general congress which includes more than 100 countries which don't even have synchronised swimming.

“And they disappointingly voted in favour of a name change. To say the synchronised swimming community is unhappy about this would be an understatement,” says Shirley. The matter will be revisited.

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