Synchronized Swimming Pool Dimensions
The FINA requirements for competition venues vary, depending on the event and the level of competition. For smaller or local meets not sanctioned by FINA, the following regulations may not apply.
General Pool Requirements
There are certain regulations required for any pool that will be used for a synchronized swimming competition.
The pool’s water must be clear enough so that the bottom of the pool is visible from above and be at least 27°C (80.6°F,) plus or minus one degree.
There must be lines that run the length of every pool so that the swimmer can tell which way they are moving underwater, since goggles aren’t worn in competition.
If the pool walls slope down to achieve the depth required for the events, the depth must be reached no farther than 1.2m from the edge of the pool.
Less pool space is needed for figure competition that than for routines. It is more common to have four panels of judges and four figure panels running simultaneously, but if there is not enough pool space or aren’t enough athletes, two panels are all that’s required.
The space for each panel, or area where the figure is performed, must be 10m x 3m and close to the pool wall. The long side should be parallel to and no more than 1.5m from the wall.
One of the spaces must be at least 3m meters deep, and the other at least 2m deep.
More pool space and more specific depths are required for pools that are going to hold routine competitions.
The pool must be at least 12m wide and at least 25m long. The only exception to this rule is for solo and duet routines, where the pool still must be 25m long, but only two lanes wide (one lane is 2.5m, so 5m wide minimum.)
A portion of that space, 12x12m or larger, must also be at least 3m deep. The rest of the pool must be at least 2m deep.
Olympic Games & World Championships
Facility requirements for these two international competitions are much more specific and include regulations not only for the pool, but also for sound and officiating equipment.
At this level, the Figures Event has been replaced by the Technical Routine, so the pool requirements are for routines only.
The pool must be at least 20m wide x 30m long, and at least 2.5m deep. One area, 12x12m or larger, must be at least 3m deep and the slope between the change in depths has to be completed over a distance of 8m or less.
The pool’s water must be clear enough so that the bottom of the pool is visible from above and at least 27°C (80.6°F,) plus or minus one degree. The amount of light underwater is also very important, since goggles aren’t worn in competition, so there is a required minimum brightness of 1500 lux.
Automatic Judging & Officiating Equipment
The judges and officials must be provided with certain equipment for the Olympic Games and World Championships.
Each judge reviewing an event has to have at least one score recorder. In case the electronic scoring system fails, each judge also needs one set of flash cards to show their scores.
A results computer approved by FINA which records and backs up results is required, as is a system for printing out those results, plus start lists and all recorded items. Another system for evaluating the judges must also be in place and approved by FINA and Technical Synchronized Swimming Committee (TSSC).
The scoreboard must have its own control unit and have at least 10 lines that each hold 32 digits. It also must have a place to display the running time and anything else that is recorded.
Larger competitions demand better sound equipment as the venues tend to be larger and more difficult to fill with uniform sound quality above and below the water. Some of the requirements are based solely on the subjective quality level opinions of competitors and meet officials.
There are always safety concerns when electricity and water come in close contact, so there are certain regulations to ensure the protection of those in and around the pool. There must be grounding lines and anything else required to keep the people on deck from tripping over or stepping on all of the cords.
Required electronic equipment:
- An amplifier-mixer system.
- A sound reproduction system.
- High quality microphones and microphone stations.
- Enough air speakers of good enough quality to ensure that the sound is clear and sounds the same for competitors, judges and audience members.
- Underwater speakers that sound clear enough and loud enough to satisfy the competitors.
- For underwater speakers with metallic shells, matching transformer systems.
- A decibel meter to monitor above and underwater sound.
- Proper cords for connecting equipment and extension cords of good enough quality to maintain the sound standards.
Monitoring and Maintenance
In case equipment needs to be repaired, the tools needed to fuse, connect, or make repairs should be on hand. The other requirements enforced to keep competitions running smoothly include a method for meet officials to communicate back and forth with the sound desk, a system that can constantly monitor and record underwater sound, and of course, a stopwatch for timing.
FINA Facility Requirements