How to Do the Heron in Synchronized Swimming
The heron is one of many figures that starts with a front pike take-down and tip-over to submerged doubles. From there, when you're doing a heron, you bend to a submerged flamingo position and go on to the heron thrust (where the majority of the points will be awarded). After a slow descent, you've completed the heron figure!
What makes the heron different from many other figures is that you are actually supposed to move as fast as you can during the thrust. This guide will take you step-by-step through the techniques and positions of this figure that will earn you the highest possible score.
- Start in your best front layout using canoe scull. Line up your head with the marker or center judge. Your face may stay up to breath until you're ready to start.
- Take a breath and slowly lower your face into the water.
- Reach your arms forward, and using barrel scull, pike down. Hold your pike position here, still in barrel scull. When you arrive in the pike, your hips should be where your head was before you started piking — in line with the marker.
- Start this step by barrel sculling yourself headfirst down toward the bottom, leaving your heels on the surface.
- Then, to tip your pike over, switch to paddle scull.
- When you arrive at the end of this transition, switch to a split scull with one hand overhead with your palm facing the surface, and the other hand by your hip doing standard scull.
- Your legs should be vertical with just your ankles and feet out of the water. Your body should be parallel to the surface, so you are still at a perfect 90 degree angle.
- Now your hips and feet should be in line with the marker.
A heron is a kind of water bird that wades in marshlands or shallow waters on its long, stilt-like legs. Many synchro figures and positions are named after, and inspired by, types of aquatic animals.
- Continue using split scull. Bring one leg down underwater by bending your knee toward your chest.
- Stop bending when your shin is parallel to the surface, and your straight leg bisects it. Meaning, when exactly half of your shin is sticking out behind your straight leg and the other half is in front of it.
- Now reach your hands up toward the surface and next to the ankle of your straight leg. This will also bring your body up closer to your legs. You're now prepared to use the same hand technique you would use for a barracuda thrust.
- Just as if you were doing a barracuda, begin to unroll and rise with your straight leg's toe headed directly to the sky – no tipping over your face allowed!
- Catch through a support scull position and press almost all the way over your head.
- By the time you are vertical and at your full height, finish bringing your bent knee forward so that your toe is now touching to your knee instead of sticking out behind it.
- This step should be done with as much speed and as much height as possible!
- As soon as you finish your press, get your hands back into support scull as fast as possible. You want to slow down your descent as early as you can with this catch.
- Gradually reduce the pressure of your support sculling until you reach your floating point.
- Turn your hands over and scull yourself down, especially slowly for this last bit.
Be a Heron Hero
This heron figure, or variations of the same skills that are required to do one, will show up in all kinds of areas. It's highly likely that the heron will be a part of one of the figure groups chosen for competitions.
Also, there are many different skills you can improve on while practicing the heron. Among them are at least six different sculling techniques, a faster and higher thrust, and the front pike (which is the lead in for many figures). Working on the heron will allow improvement in all of these useful areas!