Synchronized Swimmers Learn Circus Tricks

Synchronized Swimmers Learn Circus Tricks

U.S. synchronized swimming team members strive for Olympics gold in Beijing with routines they've developed at a school for circus acrobats.

U.S. synchronized swimming team members strive for Olympics gold in Beijing with routines they’ve developed at a school for circus acrobats.

The secrets of the U.S. synchronized swimming team are revealed in this San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate.com) video as they practice lifts, jumps and tricks — not just in the water, but at a school for circus acrobats called the San Francisco Circus Center. Acrobatics become an essential part of their routine as they practice backwards flips and jumps that catapult them out of the water like a cork from a champagne bottle.

The swimmers are led by a French choreographer who has worked with Cirque du Soleil and two Chinese circus instructors, one of whom is the director and master teacher of the Circus Center. The team of 10 swimmers hones its skills as excellent swimmers and adds the unpredictable element of gymnastics. Their hours of practice are whittled down to a four-minute routine that they hope will win them the gold in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Length: 5:04

Story: John Crumpacker

Photography: Paul Chinn

Videocamera and editing: James Irwin

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