Synchronized swimmers might be the most underrated athletes at the Olympic Games.
In performing a sport that The New York Times’s Sarah Lyall described as one “that lies in the corner of the Twilight Zone where Kabuki opera meets advanced underwater survival,” the women who compete ― and it is only women who do so ― are more than just pretty faces in waterproof makeup. They are absolutely stellar athletes.
Like gymnasts, their scores rely heavily on the aspect of performance. But instead of beams and floors and bars, they perform their routines bouncing off of nothing but their own physical strength from the middle of a 9-foot deep pool. And while their facial expressions have served as fodder for many a listicle, their unreal athleticism often goes unacknowledged.
In honor of their tremendous skills and phenomenal strength, here are 19 pictures that prove just how fierce these athletes truly are.
For more Olympics coverage:
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- Why ‘90s Girls Adored The 1996 Olympic Gymnastics Team
- 21 Times This Year’s U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnasts Were Straight-Up Superheroes
- Here’s The Real Reason We Love Watching Olympic Gymnastics
- 10 Olympians Who Will Make History Before They Even Compete In Rio