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USA Synchro

HISTORY

1907  Australian Annette Kellerman, performing in a glass tank, attracts national attention at the New York Hippodrome as the first underwater ballerina.

1915  Katherine Curtis, a student at the University of Wisconsin, experiments with diving actions and stunts in the water.

1923  Curtis starts a water-ballet club at the University of Chicago. The group executes strokes, "tricks" and floating formations.

1934  Sixty of Curtis' swimmers, called the Modern Mermaids, perform in the lagoon at the Century of Progress World's Fair in Chicago.

1939  The first U.S. competition, held May 27, is a dual meet at Wright Junior College between Wright and Curtis' team, the Chicago Teachers' College ... showman Billy Rose develops an Aquacade for the World's Fair in New York featuring Olympians Eleanor Holm and Johnny Weismeuller.

1940  Esther Williams, U.S. freestyle champion and Olympic contender, popularizes water ballet with her performances in the San Francisco World's Fair Aquacade and subsequent MGM movies ... the Central Association of the Amateur Athletic Association [AAU] begins competitions in synchronized swimming. The first CAAAU meet is held March 1, 1940 in Wilmette, Ill.

1941  The Amateur Athletic Union [AAU] adopts synchronized swimming as an official competitive sport for duet and team events ... Clark Leach of the CAAAU is the first chairman.

1942  A Trial National Championship for Teams is held Aug. 14-16 in Neenah, Wisconsin ... of the three participating Chicago clubs, Lakeshore Athletic Club wins.

1946  The first Official National Team Championship is held Aug. 11 at Riis Park in Chicago ... the duet event is held Sept. 8 in Hinsdale, Ill. Chicago Town Club wins both competitions.

1950  The solo event is added to the program of events ... June Taylor of Ontario, Canada, wins the Indoor Solo title while Beulah Gundling of Cedar Rapids, Iowa wins the Outdoor Solo title.

1951  The U.S. and Canada demonstrate at the I Pan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1952  The U.S. And Canada demonstrate at the Olympic Games in Helsinki.

1954  FINA, the international aquatics federation, is formed .... FINA makes synchronized swimming a competitive division of aquatics.

1955  The II Pan American Games in Mexico City includes synchro as an official event for the first time. The U.S. sweeps all three events in its first-official international competition ... Beulah Gundling wins solo, Ellen Richard and Connie Todoroff win duet and the Athens Club of Oakland win the team event.

1956  The USA establishes the first Age Group rules and competition ... synchronized swimmers from Athens Club of Oakland, Calif., demonstrate at the Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

1958  Stunt (figure) competition is added.

1959  The first Junior Olympic rules and program begin ... the U.S., represented by the Athens Club, and Canada demonstrate at the III Pan American Games in Chicago. Annette Kellerman and Katherine Curtis are inducted into Helms Hall of Fame.

1960  After a world tour, U.S. swimmers demonstrate at the Olympic Games in Rome.

1963  The U.S. wins gold in all events at the IV Pan American Games in Sao Paulo - Roberta Armstrong (solo), Barbara Burke and Joanne Schaak (duet), Athens Club team of Oakland (team).

1964  The U.S., represented by the San Francisco Merionettes, and Canada demonstrate at the Olympic Games in Saporo, Japan.

1967  Pam Morris is the first synchronized swimmer inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame ... the U.S., represented by the San Francisco Merionettes, and Canada demonstrate at the V Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada. Margo McGrath wins solo at the Golden Gate International Solo, the first international competition in the U.S.

1968  The U.S., represented by the Santa Clara Aquamaids, demonstrates at the Olympic Games in Mexico City.

1971  The first National Junior Olympic Championship is held in Norfolk, Va. The U.S. wins gold in all events at the VI Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia - Heidi O'Rourke (solo), O'Rourke and Joan Lang (duet), San Francisco Merionettes (team) ... O'Rourke and Lang receive perfect 10's for their duet routine.

1973  The first World Aquatic Championship is held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Led by Teresa Anderson, who wins four gold medals, the U.S. team sweeps all events and its gold medals push the U.S. aquatic team (swimming, diving, water polo and synchro) to the overall victory at the Championships.

1974  The first World Synchronized Swimming Conference is held in Ottawa, Canada ... American Kathy Kretschmer wins the World Solo Invitational competition held in conjunction with the conference. The U.S. sweeps gold at the first Pan Pacific Championship in Honolulu - Gail Johnson (solo) Johnson and Sue Baross (duet), Santa Clara Aquamaids (team).

1975  The first Masters National Championship is held in Reading, Pa. The U.S. wins gold in all events at the II World Aquatic Championships in Cali, Colombia, and at the VII Pan American Games, Mexico City - Gail Johnson (solo), Amanda Norrish and Robin Curren (duet), Santa Clara Aquamaids (team).

1977  AIAW Intercollegiate National Championships are held for the first time in Lansing, Mich. ... Ohio State University wins all events.

1978  The first National Sports Festival, organized by the USOC, is held in Pueblo, Colo. Synchronized swimmers are selected from the figures results of the previous National Championships ... 10 swimmers from each zone for the East, West, North and South teams. Congress passes the Amateur Sports Act mandating a new, independent structure for amateur sport in the United States. Santa Clara wins the team event at the III World Championships in Berlin.

1979  U.S. Synchronized Swimming Inc. [USSS] is established as the national governing body for the sport of synchronized swimming in the United States. Based on the success of the previous year's Sports Festival, the United States establishes its first national team ... Team USA wins the team event at VIII Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico and at the first World Cup in Tokyo.

1980  The first American Cup is held in Concord, Calif. The U.S. team wins all events - Linda Shelley (solo), Shelly and Suzanne Cameron (duet), Team USA (team) ... the International Olympic Committee [IOC] accepts the duet event for the 1984 Olympic Games.

1981  USSS establishes its national headquarters at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. ... Paula Oyer is hired as the first executive director.

1982  Tracie Ruiz wins solo at the World Aquatic Games in Guayaquil, Ecuador, while the U.S. takes silver in duet and team. Orlando, Fla., hosts the first ASUA [Pan American countries] Age Group competition in the U.S.

1983  Team USA performs before the IOC at the IOC meeting in Los Angeles ... the U.S. wins gold in all events at the II American Cup in Los Angeles. At the Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela, Tracie Ruiz wins solo, Ruiz and Candy Costie win duet, and Team USA wins silver. USSS relocates to Indianapolis to launch a nationwide grassroots development program funded by the Lilly Endowment.

1984  IOC officially accepts the solo event into the 1984 Olympic Games two months before the Games begin. Synchronized swimming premieres at the XXIII Olympiad in Los Angeles. Tracie Ruiz and Candy Costie win the first Olympic medals in the duet event ... Ruiz captures an additional gold medal a day later in the solo event. Sarah Josephson, alternate, is sixth in figures. The three athletes are coached by Charlotte Davis ... Olympic Manager is Gail Emery. Ruiz and Costie attain their first "perfect" International Routine score at the Rome Open II in Rome. USSS adopts a Coaches Certification Program and hires a full-time national coach, Charlotte Davis, to oversee national team programs.

1985  II FINA World Cup is held in America (Indianapolis) for the first time ... Team USA wins silver medals in all of the events.

1987  The United States captures all events at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis - Tracie Ruiz (solo), Sarah and Karen Josephson (duet), Team USA (team). The U.S. also wins the team title at the III FINA World Cup.

1988  At the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul, Korea, U.S. Team members Tracie Ruiz-Conforto and Karen and Sarah Josephson win silver medals in the solo and duet competitions.

1989  The United States, for the first time since 1975, sweeps all events at the IV FINA World Cup in Paris - Tracy Long (solo), Long and Michelle Svitenko (duet), Team USA (team) ... the first FINA Junior World Championship is held in Cali, Columbia, with the U.S. team sweeping all events - Becky Dyroen (solo), Dyroen and Jill Sudduth (duet), USA's first National Junior Team (team).

1990  USA's Kristen Babb wins solo and Karen and Sarah Josephson win duet as the sport makes its debut at the Goodwill Games in Seattle.

1991  At the VI World Aquatic Championships in Perth, Australia, the U.S. Team captures the World Team title. Karen and Sarah Josephson win their first World Duet title .... based on their performances, the USA is now ranked number one in the world. The IOC votes to replace the solo and duet events with the team competition starting at the 1996 Olympic Games. The U.S. Team sweeps all events at the XI Pan American Games in Havana ... it is the sixth time that the United States has done this. At the V FINA World Cup in Bonn, Germany, the U.S. Team captures the gold medal ... Karen and Sarah Josephson win their first FINA World Cup title.

1992  At the XXV Olympiad in Barcelona, Spain, the U.S. team sweeps gold medals in both the solo and duet events. Kristen Babb-Sprague is crowned solo champion* ... Karen and Sarah Josephson dominate the duet competition to win their first-ever Olympic gold medals.

1993  The United States wins all events at the VI Synchronized Swimming World Cup. America's Becky Dyroen-Lancer has her second grand slam performance of the year winning gold medals in solo, duet, team and figures.

1994  Team USA sweeps all events at the VII World Aquatic Championships in Rome ... Becky Dyroen-Lancer leads the Americans with another grand-slam performance. Dyroen-Lancer wins more gold medals than any other American at the event, which includes swimming, diving, and water polo.

1995  For the second consecutive time, Team USA, led by Becky Dyroen-Lancer, sweeps the NationsBank Synchronized Swimming World Cup in Atlanta ... Dyroen-Lancer records her ninth-consecutive grand slam. At the Olympic qualifying event held at the conclusion of the World Cup, the United States sets a new record by receiving a perfect score of ten 10's. U.S. Synchronized Swimming selects its first-ever 10-member Olympic team for the 1996 Games.

1996  In the team event's premier at the 1996 Olympic Games, Team USA performs flawlessly. After winning the technical routine portion, the USA's free routine "Fantasia on an Orchestra" captivates the audience and judges ... Team USA receives a perfect score of 100 in the free routine to earn the first Olympic gold medal in team competition. Bill May of Syracuse, N.Y. enters the national spotlight by earning a place on the U.S. Junior National Team ... he is the first male to achieve such an honor in the U.S.

1997  The International Olympic Committee announces on May 20 that duets will be re-introduced to the Olympic program for the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney ... following the full retirement of the Olympic Team, the United States places fifth in team, sixth in duet and seventh in solo at the VIII FINA World Cup in Guangzhou, China.

1998  The United States regains its medal status by earning the bronze medal in team at the 8th World Championships in Perth, Australia. Bill May and Kristina Lum win the duet title at the Jantzen Nationals, gaining international exposure for the possibility of mixed duet competition in the future. May and Lum represent the United States in the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York, where they win the silver medal in duet and help Team USA earn second place in team ... two weeks later, ASUA rules May is not eligible for Pan American Games competition in 1999. At the 1998 USAS Convention, May is named USSS Athlete of the Year. The U.S. Junior National Team wins the team gold medal at the V American Cup.

1999  Team USA's "Magic" routine places second in the Pan American Games in front of a decisively Canadian crowd in Winnipeg, Canada ... the duet of Emily Marsh and Becky Jasontek also takes second. A fourth-place team finish at the FINA World Cup in Seoul, Korea leads the U.S. to third place overall under FINA's new championship points-calculation system. Bill May leads Team II to a sweep of the Swiss Open and repeats as USSS Athlete of the Year. Three weeks later, Russian Olympian and four-time Jantzen national champion Anna Kozlova is sworn in as an American citizen ... Oct. 7 marks the end of her five-year, 84-day process to compete for the United States.

2000  The Games Down Under bring Team USA to Australia twice - first for the qualifying event in April and then for the Olympic Games. The USA's "Storm" routine excels in difficulty and earns the team a fourth-place finish in the qualifier ... Anna Kozlova and Tuesday Middaugh finish fourth in duet in their elite international debut. Russia captures its fist-ever Olympic medals, with Japan taking both silvers and Canada and France splitting the bronze. The sport's lone, elite male swimmer Bill May sweeps the Jantzen Nationals, the eighth consecutive sweep for Santa Clara, in the absence of the Olympic-team members ... May also leads National Team II to a sweep of the Rome Open. The U.S. Junior Team finishes second at the American Cup, hinting at a promising 2001 Jr. Worlds in Federal Way, Wash. Ohio State reclaims its collegiate crown after a two-year stint in the hands of Stanford. Team USA coach Chris Carver and Olympic gold-medalist Tracie Ruiz-Conforto are inducted into the Women's Sports Foundation International Hall of Fame. The end of the year marks the resignation of National Team Director Charlotte Davis, the spark behind the U.S. National and Olympic Team programs since 1979.

2001  Team USA begins anew in 2001 following the retirement of eight-of-nine Olympians ... the half-and-half mix of veterans and newcomers venture to the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. They return with fourth-place finishes across the board, including those by Anna Kozlova in solo and Lauren McFall and Becky Martin in duet. Ten athletes originally from ten different age- group programs make up a Team II roster that enjoys success at the Swiss Open. Bill May wins solo gold, the duet of Andrea Nott and Mary Hofer take third and Team USA wins bronze. The Juniors take on the world in North America's first-ever Junior World Championships, held in Seattle ... Alison Bartosik finishes fourth in solo, teamed with Sara Lowe for sixth in duet, and the team finishes fifth. The USSS National Office welcomes aboard a new Executive Director in November ... Terry Harper comes to USSS from U.S. Sailing to replace Debbie Hesse, who resigns after seven years of service.

2002  The United States is back on the podium capturing bronze at the FINA World Cup in Zurich ... the Junior Team duet of Sara Lowe and Stephanie Nesbitt also wins bronze at the FINA Junior World Championships in Montreal.

2003  Anna Kozlova and Alison Bartosik are named the 2004 Olympic Games duet, the first Americans to be named to the 2004 Olympic Team. The United States continues its climb in the world by capturing bronze in the team competition and silver in the combo team routine at the 2003 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain. The team and the duet of Kozlova and Bartosik reclaim gold at the 2003 Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic ... the U.S. takes home silver in 1999 as runners-up to the Canadians, but win back the gold in 2003. 

2004  The U.S. returns to the medal stand with third-place finishes in both the team and duet events at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece ... Alison Bartosik and Anna Kozlova represent the U.S. in the duet, marking Kozlova's third Olympic-Games appearance.

2005  The United States heads to Montreal for the XI FINA World Championships and walks away with a fifth-place solo finish (Christina Jones), a fourth-place duet finish (Sara Lowe, Stephanie Nesbitt), a fourth-place team finish and a fifth-place combination-routine finish. After taking bronze in the 2004 Olympics, Lowe and Nesbitt reunite to swim in the duet, which marks their final competition as members of the U.S. National Team.

2006  The United States doesn't bring home any medals from the FINA World Cup, but fourth-place finishes in all three disciplines forecast a promising future ... Christina Jones serves as the soloist in her second major-international competition competing in the senior ranks. Jones teams up with Andrea Nott in the duet and both join their teammates in the team competition, resulting in the U.S. barely missing the medal stand each time. Team USA redeems itself at the inaugural FINA World Trophy Cup with its combo routine and gold-medal performance in the combination event ... this marks the first time the U.S. finds itself in gold-medal position during a major-international competition since the 1996 Olympic Games,where the U.S. posted a perfect score. In December, Jones and Nott win the 2008 U.S. Olympic Duet Trials and are the first athletes named to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for any sport.

2007  At the FINA World Championships, the U.S. snags a bronze medal in the combination routine ... Christina Jones grabs a fourth-place finish in the solo tech and a fifth-place finish in the solo free to mark the first time a medal was awarded in both the tech and free disciplines. Jones' efforts result in fifth-place finishes with Annabelle Orme in the duet-tech and with Andrea Nott in the duet-free. The U.S. claims fifth-place finishes in both the team-tech and team-free events. The 2007 Pan American Games serves as the qualifier for the 2008 Olympic Games ... the U.S. solidifies gold medals and Olympic spots in both the team and duet (Jones and Nott) competition.

2008  At the Olympic Games in Beijing, Team USA's brand-new free-routine program to the theme of “light” makes its debut ... the routine features innovative and groundbreaking choreography which has never been brought to the competition pool before. The U.S. swims its way to a fifth-place tie with Japan. The duet (Christina Jones, Andrea Nott) also earns a fifth-place finish.