How to Do the Eiffel Tower in Synchronized Swimming

The Eiffel Tower figure begins with a ballet leg and ends with a tower. Thus, it is the unique transition between those two moves that gives it the fancy French name. What does it have to do with the iconic international symbol of Paris? Who knows? But, if you do it correctly, it might make you famous… at least for a day to two at the pool!

This figure will test and improve your ability to control difficult balance movements and positions. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the Eiffel Tower figure, plus a couple of tips for the troublesome spots.

Back Layout to Ballet Leg

Start in a back layout with your head in line with the marker, or center judge. If you are doing a right ballet leg, your left side should be facing them. Proceed to the bent knee position, and then to the ballet leg position without any traveling.

Ballet Leg to Eiffel Position

Keeping your body flat on the surface, begin to roll your body and lay your ballet leg over onto the surface. Tip towards your left side, which is also toward the judges. As you roll, turn your head to follow your foot — without tucking your chin.

Use standard sculling for the entire length of the transition. As you tip, gradually move your left hand farther away from your hip and out underneath your right leg to provide more support.

By the end of this step, you should be in a T-shaped position on your side with your body in a straight line parallel to the judges’ panel. Your head, hip, and both feet should be at the surface.

Mental Edge

One of the keys to making the tip to the Eiffel position beautiful is maintaining your water level. If it’s giving you some trouble, try using some imagery instead of just counting on sculling harder. Imagine that there is a table right next to your left side. Then, picture laying your right leg over on top of it. If you sink, you will slide down the side of the imaginary table instead of getting up and over it.

Eiffel Position to Pike

For this step, you have to begin and complete three actions simultaneously: Join your legs, bend into a pike position, and travel headfirst enough to finish with your hips in line with the marker.

Before you worry about your hands, take note of what your body needs to do. Using your body to maneuver yourself as much, if not more, than your sculling will save you some energy and make your movements smoother. Use your abdominal muscles to pull your body down toward the pike position, and use your hips to help you roll.

As for the sculling technique, there are two options: One that sneaks your right hand across the front of your body, and one that has your right arm passing over your head.

Across the Front:

  1. Reach your left hand out towards the bottom corner of the pool. Use small, breaststroke-like sculls with your wrist to help pull you down and forward.
  2. As soon as you pull your head under, slide your right hand to the front of your body underwater and over your waist.
  3. With a couple transition sculls, bring your right hand toward your left and finish the pike with barrel scull.

Over Your Head:

  1. Start your left arm the same way as described in the previous technique.
  2. As soon as you pull your head under, slide your right arm underwater with your palm facing up, over your head.
  3. Keep bringing it around until it meets your left hand, and finish the pike with barrel scull.

Choose the one that works best for you (or the one that your coach insists on).

Lift to Crane & Join

At this point, the figure is just like a regular tower. Begin lifting one leg (usually the left) to a crane after transitioning from barrel scull to paddle. When you feel balanced enough, probably around halfway to vertical, switch to support scull.

Hold the crane and then proceed to lift the horizontal leg to join the other in a vertical position. Throughout this entire potion of the figure, keep your body vertical.


To start descending, gradually decrease the amount of pressure you are creating with your support scull. You don’t need to try to sink off the top — sinking is easy — you just need to slowly stop preventing yourself from sinking.

When you get to the water level that is closer to your floating point, you can turn your hands over and begin to pull yourself down.

Take a Tour of the Eiffel Tower

This figure is the combination of two figures you probably already know well: The ballet leg and the tower. Continue to work on them since they are skills that will make a strong first, and last, impression. You should also invest some time and effort into mastering the middle portion. Get all these, and you’ll end up with a great Eiffel Tower figure.

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