What is a Tech Duet?


ANA Synchro is competing a “Tech Duet” this season!  What is a Technical Duet?  Read on as ANA Synchro’s Head Coach explains:
 
ANA Synchro's Tech Duet
Head Coach Leah
Pinette:
  A short definition for a Tech Duet is “advanced figures placed in a shorter routine.”  Technical routines are considered senior level.  You can begin competing in the event at age 15, and you have to swim one starting at age 19 for USA Synchro Senior competitions.  US Collegiate Nationals doesn’t require them, but if collegiate level athletes want to compete at US Nationals or US Opens, they must have a technical routine.  These routines are swum at elite level international competitions, including the Olympics.
 
A Tech Duet is performed along with a Free Duet.  If you compare this to figure skating, the Tech Duet is like a short program, with prescribed elements, and the Free Duet is like a long program, with more creative choreography options.  A Tech Duet contains six of the highest level difficulty figures, performed in a particular order.  Athletes do not have a separate figure competition because the figures are done as part of the Tech Duet.
 
ANA Synchro:  Is it just duets that follow this format?
 
Head Coach Leah
Pinette:
  Synchro has technical solos, duets, and team routines.  And it’s the same short/long program idea for each. 
 
A double ballet leg is one of the required elements of a Technical Duet.
ANA Synchro:  If athletes aren’t required to do Tech Duets until they’re 19, why do you have some of your Age Group swimmers doing one this season?
 
Head Coach Leah
Pinette:
 I wanted to give them an opportunity to do something a little different this season. I have them doing a Tech Duet to challenge them in a way that they’ve never been challenged before – to open a more competitive side for them.  It also allows them to focus on themselves as athletes and improving their own technical skills, so why not give them the most difficult technical elements we have in our sport?  I know they eventually want to swim past high school, so introducing it gives them great experience for college.
 
ANA Synchro:  Is the choreography easier for a Tech Duet since the elements are prescribed and must be performed in a particular order?
 
Head Coach Leah
Pinette:
  I find it easier to choreograph a technical routine, maybe because I was a technical swimmer myself.  But there still are some challenges and strategies.  You want to put the elements in a place that highlights them.  And we, on the East Coast, have to deal with a shallow end, which makes it hard because a lot of the elements require spins or sinks,  All those years swimming with the National Team, I never had to worry about a shallow end because we trained in all deep pools!  Yet we still want to evenly space out the elements so the athletes are not doing one on top of the other.
 
Athletes competing in Tech Duet also must swim a Free Duet, which is longer and not constrained by prescribed elements.
ANA Synchro:  Do all meets feature Tech Routines?
 
Head Coach Leah
Pinette:
  No.  There are certain competitions that feature them.  Our zone doesn’t necessarily see a lot of Tech Routines because our East Zone allows 19 year-olds (commonly seniors in high school) to compete in our Age Group and Junior tracks
 
ANA Synchro:  Did you have a favorite Tech Duet?
 
Head
Coach Leah Pinette:
  I do have a favorite one!  It was the last duet I swam with my sister.  We are rockers, and we wanted to swim to Guns & Roses “Welcome to the Jungle.”  But we weren’t sure how our coaches would react because it’s not your typical synchronized swimming music!  So we cut the music ourselves and had it all ready for the start of the season.  They did allow it, and it ended up being our favorite routine!