How to Do the Prawn in Synchronized Swimming

The prawn is low degree of difficulty figure for 12 and Under Age Group synchro swimmers. It will test your flexibility and your ability to hold your body in straight vertical alignment. Additionally, you get to work on your front pike take-down. You’ll use this for figures at every difficulty level.

Below are step-by-step instructions and some key hints for the prawn figure.

Front Layout to Front Pike

  1. Start in a front layout using canoe scull. Your head should be lined up with the marker or center judge.
  2. Take a breath and put your face in the water. Stretch your arms underwater out in front of you.
  3. Start barrel sculling, piking down, and moving headfirst.
  4. Hold your pike position in barrel scull. By the end of this step, you should have traveled headfirst enough that your hips are now in line with the marker.

Up & Over to a Split Position

Make the entire motion, from pike through the splits, as smooth as possible. Imagine that your leg is a paint brush and you’re painting a rainbow shape over the top of your body. Be careful not to make any bumps in your “painting.”

  1. Switch your hands into paddle scull underneath your knees.
  2. Lift your left leg (if you’re going to do right splits) up off the surface toward a fishtail position. After a few paddle sculls, switch to support scull.
  3. Pass through the fishtail position (one leg vertical and the other leg’s heel at the surface).
  4. Continue bringing your leg past the top and over onto the surface behind you to arrive in splits.
  5. Keep your moving leg’s knee cap facing forward as long as possible. Only roll out when you reach the limits of your flexibility.
  6. Stretch each leg away from your center to get your splits as flat as you can. Hold in support scull.
Hot Tip: Flexibility is Rewarded

The split position is the highlight of the prawn. You’ll notice that competitors with flat splits will receive significantly higher scores. Focus on your leg flexibility and reap the rewards!

Join & Descend to Your Ankles

  1. Roll in your back leg and square your hips. This will start the process of closing your legs.
  2. At the same time, start sinking your body straight toward the bottom of the pool.
  3. For the rest of this figure, your legs should not be any higher than ankle level out of the water.
  4. The hand technique you use depends on how high your natural floating water level is. If you are more buoyant, lessen the strength of your support scull, and then flip your hands over to scull yourself down. If you’re less buoyant, gradually scull your arms up over your head. Your palms should face the bottom as you go.
  5. When your feet come together, you should be in a vertical position. Only your ankles should be out of the water.
  6. Hold here without sinking or rising at all.


  1. While maintaining the same ankle water level, do a rapid half-turn.
  2. Hold your body as if it were one solid piece. Every part of you should turn and faces the opposite wall at the same time: Eyes, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet.
  3. Your left arm should push water across the front of your body to turn you. Your right arm should push water the other direction over the top of your head.
  4. Finish with both arms raised.
  5. Hold briefly at your ankles to show the judges that you are still in control after a rapid twirl.


  1. Scull yourself under water with your palms facing the surface.
  2. Sink at least six inches under before you finish with a back tuck — this way you won’t ruffle the water with your tucking.

Bring on the Prawn

You won’t get to do the prawn at every figure meet, because it’s not one of the compulsories. But, it’s a good way to train essential synchro skills like the front pike take-down, the splits, vertical alignment, and even a twirl! So, make sure to keep it in your rotation when practicing optional figures.

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