Today I read an article in the newspaper about a duo who were going to compete nationally in the category: mixed duo’s of synchronized swimming. If you’re not very familiar with synchronized swimming, you might think this is not a big deal. People do national contests, right? However, this is the first time men are allowed to compete nationally in this sport, here in the Netherlands. They also said that this category will now exist during international competitions.
The woman of the duo tried very hard to make this possible. For a very long time this sport was a women’s sport. Men weren’t even allowed. I found this video about men not being allowed at the Olympics in 2012 (apparently they were allowed to do other competitions in GB, which is good, however I think it’s time for this to have official recognition).
I knew about this issue, because I’ve done this sport (for a short while). I thought it was silly that men weren’t allowed and it’s great that men can now do this too. Just because someone thinks it doesn’t fit your gender role and is ‘girly’, doesn’t mean you should actually listen to that silly person!
The synchronized swimming bond felt like they had to defend why they hadn’t allowed it for a long time. They said that men had more trouble floating, so it was much harder for them to do. Well, they already compensated that by making special categories (if you feel like that is necessary) and I think every person can decide for themselves if they are ‘up’ for it.
[Photo made under water in a swimming pool. A group of girls are upside down performing a trick with their legs on top of the water]
This duo already knows they’re going to win the nationals, since they’re the only mixed duo competing. However, that doesn’t take away their fun and they still practice a lot, because they still want to perform their best. Not just because the man is a judge of this sport and will be judged by his colleagues 😉 I hope more men will join. I think it’s good to let go of these gender roles. Although I personally would prefer not to have these seperate categories, since I always hated that when I was (for example) fencing. I always had to fence against boys (since there were no women at my club) and suddenly at the nationals (or higher) it’s only female vs female and male vs male. Didn’t really understand that, because there isn’t that much difference between men and women in this sport, such as with gymnastics, weight-lifting and apparently synchronized swimming. Oh well, this is a good step towards more equality 🙂