Stockholm Art Swim Gents
Synchronised swimming – it’s all about pink bathing caps, waterproof mascara and ladies in lipstick, right? Wrong. We met with Sam Victorin, a member of the Stockholm Art Swim Gents, an all-male synchronized swimming team that are going to change your perception of the sport forever. Settle in for a unique and downright quirky story.
The team is around 15 men, between 40 and 50 years old. We are all working men with families living in Stockholm. We have different backgrounds: archivists, film directors, musicians, and even less glamorous jobs like teachers and tram drivers. We are united by our love for water, our lust for life, and our sense of humour.
The team started from talking with one another in bars and at parties. We realised we all loved being in the water but find lap swimming quite boring. We figured that sycnhro could be fun. Why not give it a try?
Synchronised swimming for men has barely been a sport for the past 100 years. When we started we were quite alone. Then we met a Czech team in Athens at the 2004 Olympic games. The Czech team were so happy to meet us that they invited us to Prague in 2005 for the first competition for male sycnhro in years – the Men’s Cup. Only four teams showed up. We came last.
In 2007 we arranged the Men’s Cup II in Stockholm. Six teams came and we finished third. In 2009 we actually won the Men’s Cup in Milan. The competition is not that fierce in men’s synchro and we are not great athletes, but we are proud of what we have achieved.
Usually we swim once a week. Before competitions we practice twice a week. Right now we are improvising and trying new formations in the water. We sometimes have dry practices, preferably in dance studios with mirrored walls. Usually we go for a beer afterwards. We certainly take our training seriously but that doesn’t mean that we can’t drink or smoke. We enjoy a good party.
'We sometimes have dry practices, preferably in dance studios with mirrored walls. Usually we go for a beer afterwards. We certainly take our training seriously but that doesn’t mean that we can’t drink or smoke. We enjoy a good party.'
When people see us, they usually react with joy. When we started the only negative reactions were from some middle-aged men, like us, and members of the established synchro community in Sweden. They thought we were making fun of the sport, but after a while they understood that was not our mission. Now we are good friends.
The main impact of swimming together is that we have made new friends. Our team members have become very close and we have shared fantastic experiences on stage and in the water. Our coach has actually fallen in love with one of our swimmers and they will marry this spring. The same thing happened with our former coach!
We have plans for a big show next year in Stockholm. Other than that we sometimes have gigs, such as the inauguration of a swimming pool or music festivals. Hopefully there will be a Men’s Cup in 2015. If so, we’ll be there.
For more info, visit: www.sksh.se/
Words: Annie Ferguson