How to Do the Tower in Synchronized Swimming
You can probably imagine how the tower figure got its name. The figure starts in a flat layout and peaks in a high vertical. While you learn the tower, you'll also be gaining abilities that you can apply to other figures, required elements, and routine hybrids. Thus, every transition and position in it is an essential one to master.
Here's a step-by-step guide to the tower including sculling techniques and a drill to help you with your body position.
- Start in a front layout using canoe scull. Your head should be lined up with the marker or center judge.
- Take a breath and put your face in, then start barrel sculling and piking down. Hold your pike position here in barrel scull.
- By the end of this step, you should have traveled headfirst enough so that your hips are in line with the marker. They will stay there through the end of the figure.
- Transition to paddle scull, switching one arm at a time, one right after the other.
- After two or three seconds, begin lifting your leg of choice. Keep paddling until your leg is halfway to vertical and then switch to support scull.
- Finish in your crane position, remembering to keep your bottom leg's heel underwater, and hold.
- Maintaining a vertical line with your body and the leg that is up, lift your bottom leg up to meet the other one.
- There is a tendency to travel backwards during this transition. Be aware of piking or allowing your arms to open up in your support scull. These are two problems that can contribute to backwards travel.
- Hold the vertical at your maximum height and in place before beginning the descent. Rushing into the descent gives the judges the wrong impression — that you cannot hold it.
- 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, turn your hands over and begin to pull yourself down.
Crane Lifts & Crane Joins Against the Wall
In order to gain awareness of your body alignment and which muscles to use during the crane lift and join, try this drill. It will allow you to focus your attention on positions, opposed to worrying about your sculling or height.
- Set up upside-down in a pike position with your back against the side of the pool. Hold onto the wall or gutter of the pool with your hands so you won't have to scull.
- Lift slowly to a crane position. Keep your entire back, from hips to the back of your head, against the wall the entire time — paying special attention to your lower back.
- Make a conscious effort to use your hamstring muscles to lift your leg and your stomach muscles to hold your body still.
- Don't forget about the bottom leg! Remember to extend it with straight knees and pointed toes.
- Now join to the vertical. Focus on using the same leg and stomach muscles you used when lifting the first leg. Also, double check that your head, back, and hips are still all touching the wall.
- Repeat successfully at least three times before trying it off the wall with sculling.
Be a Tower of Power
Once you learn how to do the tower well, you will have gained abilities that synchro swimmers just can't go on without! As you do when practicing all of your figures, give extra attention to the areas that are difficult for you while continuing to maintain and improve the parts that you already do well. Soon you'll be feeling anxious to show off your powerful tower at the next figure competition.