There is a sport that combines both swimming and gymnastic. It is called synchronized swimming. It is believed that this sport was born in 1920 in Canada and at that time it was called "ornamental swimming". Different other names were also very often and it was known as artistic, scientific, figure and even pattern swimming. At the time this sport was demonstrational. It was based on different movements of lifesaving technique. But with a growing popularity of synchronized swimming, rules of this sport were changed and so were the movements. Soon this sport became popular world wide and in 1984 it was even included into Olympic program. In the beginning only men performed in this sport but with time, women teams also started to form. Now in modern times, synchronized swimming is quite different from what it was in its infancy. These days only women teams take part in competitions.
Regular synchronized swimming programs can be divided into three categories - solo programs, duet programs and team programs. In fact, solo programs are in most of the synchronized swimming competitions and they are even not included into Olympic programs. So, the most of the synchronized swimming competitions all over the world consist of duet and team programs.
Duet program includes so-called technical and free routine. The technical part consists only of predefined elements. This part of the program makes synchronized swimming a sport as there is a certain set of movements that swimmers have to make during performance. And the technique of these movements is being judged. On the contrary, the free routine of the program can be composed of different elements, and here swimmers can express all their artistic skills. This part of the performance in fact makes synchronized swimming a sort of "art form". There is even a panel of judges that looks at the artistic impression of the choreography.
The "team program" has only a free routine. But it lasts longer than the duet program. The duet performance time is 4 minutes while for teams this time is 5 minutes. And if solo programs are included in competitions the duration is 3.5 minutes.
The score making system of synchronized swimming is pretty close to figure skating as long as artistic skills of swimmers have to be judged. And as long as this sport combines complex movements with artistic skills score making is not that simple. Possibly score making looks simple for the audience during performance but there are many nuances involved. There are usually two teams of judges for each competition. One team is for technical aspects of the performance and the other one is to look at the artistic impression. And the second task is probably the most complex in score making.
And still there are certain rules for process of scoring that the judges must follow. They establish a different point for each movement, judging such things as difficulty of the elements, synchronization and execution. As for the artistic impression, scoring focuses on - choreography, music and the manner of presentation.
All the points are being processed with a computer system for getting result sum. Today these systems and software are quite complex, allowing for a large number of scoring different parameters that are taken into consideration during the judging of a performance.