Frequently Asked Questions!

What does my swimmer need to bring each practice?

Please refer to Preparing for the first practice… 

Where can I purchase the necessary items for synchro?

Every athlete receives one nose clip and swim cap at the start of the season. For replacements and other necessary equipment, most local sporting goods stores work well. Swimmers should always have at least one spare nose clip in case of breakage or loss. (This can be devastating mid-routine, so most athletes attach a spare to the side of their suit for easy access). 

Do parents watch practices?

Yes! Please refer to Preparing for the first practice…

When do we get to see our swimmers perform? 

Spectators are encouraged at all competitions — there are several local meets to attend. Another great opportunity for family and friends to see athletes’ hard work is at our water shows. Most competitions feature both figures and routines. Typically, spectators are invited to view the routine swims, but not the figures, as these are more technical and less exciting. (You can hear a pin drop!)

How do I care for the custom routine swimsuit?

All competitive routines have custom-designed handmade suits. These suits are more fragile than typical swimsuits and require extra care. Routine suits cannot to be worn for anything other than water demos or competitions. It is difficult and expensive to replace custom suits.

Care instructions:

- After events, rinse the suit, avoiding shampoo, soap, and detergent, which break down the fabric. Lay the suit flat on a towel. Roll up the towel. (Leaving the suit in a ball may cause colours to run into each other.)

- At home, hang the suit to dry. Do not wring out the suit. 

- Keep the suit on a hanger when not in use.

- It is normal for sequins or embellishments to fall off. These will be repaired at the coach’s discretion. 

What costs can I expect on top of monthly fees?

Club uniforms

Competitive athletes buy these mandatory items in their first year and replace them, item by item, as they grow and wear out of them. Club uniforms are not required for pre-competitive swimmers.

Caps, goggles, and nose clips

Expect your swimmer to misplace and/or break these items throughout the year.

Athletes’ individual travel expenses

Individual travel costs such as flights to competitions and team outings are paid out of pocket. For more information, please see the Travel Guidelines.

Can my athlete swim a solo or duet routine?

All athletes are first placed on a team, based on our club’s team-first philosophy. Extra routines — solos and duets — are limited and based on club resources and provincial and national competition limits on entrants. Athletes are invited to express interest in extra routines during registration for the regular season. Fees for extra routines are in addition to regular monthly team fees. 

Where and how often do athletes compete?

The synchro competition season runs January through May. The number and locations of competitions for each team varies from year to year and often includes travel outside the province — sometimes under parent/guardian supervision, sometimes under parent chaperones. Coaches outline competition schedules during their year-start parent meetings in September.

What is a routine?

A routine is a choreographed program that is executed to timed music. It looks like a dance routine in the water. Routines can comprise solo swimmers, duets, teams from four to eight, or combos of up to ten. Solo swimmers synchronize their routines to the music; duets and teams to the music and each other. For combos, swimmers “break off” and complete solo and duet elements in the water alongside the rest of their synchronized teammates. In all routines, swimmers maintain synchronization in part because they can hear the music through underwater speakers. Cool.

What are figures and technical elements? 

Figures are a succession of basic positions and transitions with names such as Kip, Ariana and Albatross. Athletes compete figures or technical elements individually in front of a panel of judges. Athletes complete figures wearing a black swimsuit, white cap, nose clip and goggles. Ask your swimmer what they think about Barracuda!

What is an inter-club team or routine?

Provinces may combine athletes from different clubs within the same province to form teams, combos, or mixed duets (one male and one female swimmer).

What is a mock meet? 

The purpose of a mock meet is to teach young athletes what to expect at a competition. For first-time competitive swimmers, mock meets can be especially useful to help athletes understand the flow of meets and what the positive stress of competing feels like. Mock meets are usually held at most once a year. Scores are not recorded. 

What is a pre-swim or pre-swimmer?

A pre-swimmer is an individual swimmer or team that swims before a routine competition or a particular figure. They are scored, but only in order for judges to calibrate their judging.

What is Jr. FINA?

Jr. FINA is one of those peculiar synchro monikers. It refers to the 16 and Over national stream team. “FINA” stands for the Fédération Internationale de Natation, the International Olympic Committee-recognized federation that administers world water sport competition. The group is more commonly known as “junior."

What is an alternate?

This athlete learns several positions on a team and can fill in for any missing athlete. Some alternates rotate in and out of positions over competitions, some stay in ready mode for every competition and only swim when another swimmer cannot, due to injury or illness. Alternates generally make teams stronger and less prone to emergency last-minute re-structuring of routines.

How does scoring work?

Scoring is incredibly complex. All synchro athletes — of every age and ability — are scored based on the same rubrics. That means that early in their synchro careers, athletes will naturally score on the lower end, and as they progress, scores will naturally rise. Parents/guardians who are interested in learning more can check out this handy guide to judging.

How the heck do they do those boosts?!

It’s against the rules for a synchronized swimmer to touch the bottom or side of the pool during a routine. Boosts — even when an athlete is catapulted into the air — are executed solely by way of the power of the swimmers below.

What if my swimmer needs to miss practice due to illness, injury or for another reason?

Every practice is important in synchro, in large part because many routine components cannot be practiced without every swimmer there. Please have a careful read of the Attendance Policy section of the Policies and Guidelines to know how to appropriately deal with illness, injury or major life events.

What happens if my swimmer suffers and injury during practice? 

If an athlete suffers an injury (either at the pool, or during another activity) the club’s injury protocol will kick in. Post-injury, coaches, athletes and parents work together to ensure a safe recovery and return to practice. Atlantis follows the 2017 Harmonized Concussion Protocols set by the New Canadian Guidelines for Concussion in Sport Committee.

How can I support my swimmer, the coaches and the club as a parent/guardian?

Ensure your swimmer has what they need to be successful, including healthy routines (eating, sleeping, hydrating), stretching regularly, and arriving to practice on time. Remind your swimmer to respect fellow swimmers, coaches, and the club, as per the Athlete Code of Conduct signed as part of registration. Remind them to have fun!

Every swimmer brings different strengths to the team. Trust the coaches’ decisions on the position and role of each swimmer. Support the coach by reminding your child to respect the rules, and to come to practice ready to give their best. Please remember, too, that coaches are giving their very best each and every practice to every athlete, and any questions or concerns from parents/guardians should always be communicated in a respectful manner and in the proper forum, as per the Parent/Guardian Code of Conduct signed as part of registration.

The club is made up of a volunteer board, and always needs help to ensure a successful year for swimmers. Please volunteer! (See How to get involved.) Volunteering requires no experience, and is always very easy. 

How are teams set? 

Coaches run testing throughout the season to help determine placement for returning athletes. New athletes are placed after the first few practices.

What is the difference between Provincial Stream and National Stream?

Provincial Stream athletes compete at provincial and regional meets. National Stream athletes compete at provincial and national meets.

How do age categories work in synchro?

Age categories in synchro are notoriously tricky to understand. Imagine it’s September 2018. Athletes are starting what would be commonly referred to as the 2018-2019 season, since they will practice and compete from September 2018 through the spring of 2019. However… technically, synchro competitive seasons run January through December. So, in the case of the 2018-2019 year, the season is January 2019 through December 2019. The category into which athletes fit is always determined by their age on the last day of the competitive season. In the case of the 2018-2019 season, that’s December 31, 2019. So, even if an athlete doesn’t turn 13 until December 30, 2019, for the 2018-2019 season, that swimmer is considered 13 and will swim in the 13-15 age category. If you’re following along, that means the swimmer is counted as 13 even though they will be 12 for the entire time they practice and compete during the 2018-2019 season. Phew! 

What does it mean when an athlete “swims up” or “swims down” an age category?

Provincial stream athletes can swim up or down an age category. For example, an athlete might be in the 13-15 age group, but due to physical ability or maturity, may swim up to the 16 and Over group or down to the 11-12 group. For a team to qualify to compete, though, the average age of all team members must be in the stated age grouping for the team. Athletes who swim up or down still must swim their actual age grouping for figures or technical elements. National stream athletes can swim up, but cannot swim down. All in all, swimming up or down is rare.

What is the cut-off date for registration? 

Discover Synchro and Pre-Competitive programs are open for registration all year long. Competitive programs are open for registration during the off-season. There is spring registration for returning swimmers. Typically, the cut-off for competitive registration is the first practice of the season in September. However, late registrations for new swimmers are considered on a case-by-case basis.

What opportunities exist for athletes over 18?

Many athletes share their wealth of synchro experience by becoming coaches, volunteers or officials. To explore these options, find more info through Synchro Nova Scotia.

The Senior age category is for swimmers who are moving out of the 16 and Over age category and who have many years of competition experience. They may compete at provincial, national and international meets and be eligible for Canada Games.  

Masters category athletes are passionate about synchronized swimming but are not pursuing it at a high-performance level. They may compete at provincial, national, and international meets.  

The Canadian Synchronized Swimming University League (CUSSL) is a great option for swimmers wishing to pursue their education while they compete. Every year more and more Canadian universities are forming teams, and the level of competition continues to rise.  

NCAA synchronized swimming is highly competitive. Some Canadian swimmers make the move to the United States to pursue high performance swimming, while also continuing their education.

If you have a question not answered here, please don't hesitate to send it to our head coach.