When the 8-count is not enough: An analysis of the interaction modalities enacted by artistic swimmers in a collective choreography

Gesbert, V. and Hauw, D.

Research Center in Psychology of Health, Aging and Sport, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

This study explored interpersonal coordination on artistic swimming teams by focusing on how swimmers interact with their environment when they adjust their movements to each other. This competitive context has never been investigated and we expected that the swimmers’ interpersonal coordination would provide new insights into the coordination of their activities during team performances. Ten swimmers volunteered to participate in the analysis of national or international competitions.
The method was based on individual enactive interviews designed to grasp swimmers' activity as they adjusted to each other. Through an inductive content analysis, five meaningful interactions were identified, with: (a) the 8-counts, (b) the activity of other swimmers, (c) key moments in the music, (d) their own sensations, and (e) the material environment. The results revealed how the swimmers' activity was developed from different types of information that enabled them to make sense of the movements underway to achieve team performance.

KEYWORDS: artistic swimming, interpersonal coordination, meaningful interactions, situated activity, elite performance