Artistic Swimming News

Males Eligible to Compete in 2024 Olympic Games

by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming

In breaking news last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that for the first time ever males will be allowed to participate in artistic swimming at the Olympic Games. This news comes after a long fight for inclusion as more males have begun participating in the sport and showcasing that their athleticism is too great to ignore.

A maximum of two men will be permitted to compete in eight-member teams representing countries at the Olympic Games beginning in 2024. Ten teams will be granted qualification to the next Olympic Games in Paris. Many of the countries that have proven strong contenders for those ten spots have been working to grow their male base of talent in recent years. Teams may still swim eight women if they choose and it will be interesting to see what countries take advantage of this rule change in the year leading up to Olympic qualification competitions. Men will not be permitted to compete in the duet competition that will remain eligible only to female swimmers.

In 2015 males were granted the opportunity to participate in World Championships in the mixed duet category. Since then, World Aquatics, formerly known as FINA, has expanded participation opportunities during World Series and Super Final competitions by including the male solo category and allowing males to participate in the highlight, now known as acrobatic, category.

USA’s own Bill May has fought for this end goal throughout his long and storied artistic swimming career. May joined the sport long before many were willing to accept the idea of males in artistic swimming, then known as synchronized swimming. May persevered to win the first-ever gold medal as a male in the sport at the 2015 World Championships, the inaugural year mixed duet was included in the World Championship program. This announcement is particularly special for him, as he has dedicated his time and talents to developing the sport across the world, encouraging male swimmers to get involved and train for this moment.

This is incredible news for our very special sport of artistic swimming. There are so many people that support, encourage and inspire change within our sport. It is an honor to be a part of the journey as our sport continues to evolve and be more inclusive. This move is indisputably positive and will continue to foster the growth of artistic swimming both nationally and globally,” he said.

Senior national team athlete Kenny Gaudet, who represented USA as the male in mixed duet last season and also swam alongside his female teammates in the highlight category during the World Series ciruit, echoed May's excitement. 

"This is going to be a chance for all males to show that we deserve to be in this sport at the highest level. Allowing males to participate in the next Olympic Games is the culmination of all of the hard work that many male swimmers before me have put in. Their work and activism was not in vain. It makes me emotional to think about all the males before me that were told 'no' and excited for all the males that will now hear 'yes'," Gaudet said.  

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