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How to Do a Platform Lift in Synchronized Swimming

When synchronized swimmers first began experimenting with ways to get one teammate all the way out of the water, they ended up inventing the platform lift. Many synchro teams today learn to do a platform lift before going on to add other more explosive types of lifts to their repertoire. 

During a platform lift, one swimmer lays out as the platform, one stands on the platform and the others support both of them by eggbeatering underneath. 

These steps will guide you to a successful, basic, platform lift. Once you have that down, you can spice it up with some creative alternatives that increase the artistry and difficulty or fit the theme of your routine.

If you are going to use this lift to fulfill a technical routine requirement, make sure to read the rules before you vary too much from the basic platform lift.

Choose a Platform & Top

  • The platform should be one of the taller swimmers on the team because it will make more room for the swimmers underneath to eggbeater. If there are a few options, save those with stronger eggbeater as supporters.
  • The person on top should be one of the lighter swimmers on the team. If there are also a few options for this position, choosing someone taller will make the lift look higher and/or someone that likes the spotlight who will shine under the pressure of performing the lift in competition.

Set It Up

  1. The swimmer that is on top should set up in their squat position almost simultaneously, placing each foot on the platform in a place where both swimmers feel balanced and comfortable. The platform can also hold onto the top’s feet for extra stability.
  2. The other swimmers should choose a place to hold onto the platform to be ready to lift. For example, in a team of eight, the remaining six swimmers should each support one of the following areas on the platform’s body:
    Hot Tip: The Hugger

    The swimmer that lifts the platform’s shoulders is sometimes called “the hugger” because of the way they connect to the platform. If you are the hugger, hook your arms under the platform’s armpits and hold them onto your chest to lift. The hugger and platform’s heads should be almost side by side at the surface.

    Everyone else can choose to lift from underwater, pushing with his/her hands and head, or by resting the platform on one shoulder and holding on with the inside arm only.

    • Shoulders
    • Mid-back
    • Hips
    • Thighs
    • Calves
    • Feet
  3. If you are a lifter under the platform, help the platform stay at the correct depth. If that position has to scull a lot, there’s a good chance you’ll get smacked in the face.

Rise & Shine

  1. Now that everyone is assembled, eggbeater to the surface. The head side of the platform tends to be much heavier, so the swimmer lifting the feet should take extra care to make sure the platform remains level as it rises.
  2. The swimmer on top should remain in the squat until the platform is no deeper than a foot from the surface. Standing to early will make it heavier for the lifters, in which case the platform might never make it to the surface.
  3. At the peak of the lift, the platform’s body should be “dry.”
  4. Lifters underneath, your job at the peak is to eggbeater like there’s no tomorrow so the lift stays up as long as the choreography requires.

When technical routines replaced the figure competition, lifts went from being a highlight of a free routine to an exciting required element. Platform lifts, even as the oldest type of lift, have become more popular as a way to fulfill the lift requirement even at the highest levels of competition. Canada put one in their Olympic technical team program at the 2008 Games in Beijing, and went home happy with a fourth place finish.

Not Quite Done Yet

After the excitement of a successful lift, you might feel the urge to just let go of the lift and swim to the surface for praise from your coach or a cheering audience. But, a sloppy ending to an impressive lift can diminish the whole effect.

Stay connected to the platform, make sure it sinks gradually at first, and help pull it down once it reaches a floating point. The swimmer on top should have some choreography to make the ending look intentional and tidy as well.

Teamwork & Successful Lifts

Completing a successful platform lift will be a rewarding experience for you and your team. And once you master the standard version, don’t be afraid to add new and interesting twists to jazz it up. Each platform lift is a chance to display your skills and ability to work together as a team, so take advantage of the opportunity and get creative!

This guide will help you and your team learn how to set up and perform a platform lift for your synchronized swimming routine.
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