Activities Sports & Athletics Synchronized Swimming Rules and Judging All you want to know about synchronized swimming Share PINTEREST Email Print Ian MacNicol / Getty Images Sports & Athletics Swimming & Diving Gear Workouts Health & Safety Technique Diving Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Mat Luebbers Mat Luebbers is head coach and program director for the Marine Corps Community Services' Okinawa Dolphins Swim Team in Japan. He has a master's degree in sports science. our editorial process Mat Luebbers Updated May 24, 2017 Synchronized Swimming is governed internationally by FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation). They also govern water polo, diving, swimming, and masters swimming. The detailed synchronized swimming rules for all aspects of the competition are available through the FINA website. The Competition Swimmers and teams must qualify for the Olympic competition at other, earlier competitions. Once at the Olympic games, there are two events contested in synchronized swimming, team and duet. Within each of those events are two routines, a technical and a free routine. The same swimmers might perform in both team and duet events. Team Event eight swimmers on a teamone alternate swimmerTechnical Routine2:50 time limit ( + or -15 seconds)Perform a set routine of specific moves in a specific orderFree Routine4:00 time limit ( + or -15 seconds)Perform a self-choreographed routine with no specific requirements Duet Event two swimmersone alternate swimmerTechnical Routine2:20 time limit ( + or -15 seconds)Perform a set routine of specific moves in a specific orderFree Routine3:30 time limit ( + or -15 seconds)Perform a self-choreographed routine with no specific requirements Scoring and Judges There are many judges and officials working during a synchronized swimming competition. There are two 5-member panels of judges, with one panel scoring technical merit and the other scoring artistic impression and capabilities. The judges award points on a scale of 0.0-10.0 (in tenths). The judges watch for the difficulty of each movement, how well the routine is executed and synchronized, and how easy the swimmers make it look (easier looking but actually very hard is better!). Besides the two 5-judge panels, there is a head referee, clerical staff to record scores, and backup judges. There is even an official sound center manager to make sure the music is right. The Olympic medals are awarded based on total points earned by the swimmers. The scores for each routine are totaled, and the highest score wins gold, second wins silver, and third win bronze. There could be ties in scoring, in which case both earn that medal.