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Abstract Details

Abstract Title

Inclusive Synchronized Swimming

Abstract Theme

Sport eligibility and inclusion

Type Presentation


Abstract Authors

Presenter Meico Fugita - None (None) - BR

Presentation Details

Poster Exhibition Site (Local): Purple - 3        Date: 3 September        Time: 8am to 7pm        Presenter: Meico Fugita

Abstract Resume

Background:Synchronized Swimming (SS) has become an Olympic sport in 1984 featuring solo, duet and lately duet and team competitions. Due to the requirement of synchronization between
the athletes and between them and the music, their bodies and skills are usually as much alike as possible. With all the plasticity, it is still difficult to obtain the homogeneity, which leads to the
question: how to achieve such feat with people who have, for example, reduced mobility? We have seen solos performed by athletes with reduced mobility, visual impairment or intellectual disabilities
and autism. Although rare, there are also mixed duets comprising athletes with and without intellectual disabilities, one blind and the other with vision impairment. There is still little
participation of athletes with disabilities (AWD) in SS, not only because of its focus on synchronization and requirements in difficulty and complexity, but mainly because there are no methods for
teaching these skills to AWD yet. Thus the necessity of finding ways to make it accessible, pleasurable and possible for everyone.

Case Presentation:Members of the hydrotherapy class and of the Paralympic Swimming team of an association for support of children with disabilities have been taking part of a project of initiation in
SS for AWD in which the ways of performing skills have been optimized according to their abilities and possibilities. This project constitutes the present study.  A Free Routine Combination, or Combo,
was used to put the learned skills together in a sequence. This is not part of the Olympic Games. The routine is composed of solos, duets and ensembles that alternate. The synchronization between the
athletes and between them and the music is not ruled out and such combination allows greater dynamic with different interactions between the athletes. This was an option for this team, which consists
of an athlete with amputation, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida and 3 synchronized swimmers without disabilities. Basic skills such as floating, twists and somersaults were taught and executed
successfully, but each has achieved a performance threshold level in nine months, and there was no possibility of synchronization among the 10 athletes.

Conclusions:The Combo rules are more flexible so it was possible to develop a routine in which 4 wheelchair users perform similar actions, while the amputee athlete synchronizes with
the Cerebral Palsy athlete. Those who can interact more efficiently make the links between the parties. The project has been successful both for raising their self-esteem and for motivating them to
participate in this sport. Wearing the required ornaments and makeup and also being aware that in the water, without the implements they usually need, they can do things that would be unimaginable out
of it, raise the athletes’ self-esteem. A Combo with more flexible rules, allowing the synchronization of different groups of athletes and those with music is important because it does not go against
the nature of SS which is the synchronization between the athletes and of those with the music.

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