Gold Coast boys bucking the notion that synchronised swimming is only for girls.

By Ashleigh Stevenson.

Holding their breath underwater is still proving a challenge, but two Gold Coast boys are bucking the gender stereotype that says synchronised swimming is only for girls.

Under the guidance of coach Marina Kholod, her son Luca Knezevic and James Poulis, both nine, have joined the junior squad at Southport Aquatic Centre.

James trains alongside his 11-year-old sister, Zoe.

“I saw Zoe doing it in the pool and I thought I might have a go,” he said.

“You just have to be really flexible, you have to be strong and it’s just kind of a bunch of sports all wrapped together.

“For me the hardest thing would be holding my breath because I was not born with big lungs.

“I’d like to do a duet with my sister but she’d probably kick my butt and would make me look bad.”

James said the other girls in the squad liked having boys to train with.

“I don’t think they treat me any different. Actually, I think a lot of girls think it’s new so they’re kind of happy about it, I guess,” he said.

Luca agreed the girls in the squad appeared happy to have them involved.

“They just treat me like another person doing synchro, like anyone else,” he said.

“I like it because it’s a really creative sport and I’m a really creative person.”

‘Only a matter of time’ before men allowed in Olympics

Synchronised swimming and rhythmic gymnastics are currently the only Olympic disciplines solely for women.

However, during the 2015 Synchronised Swimming World Championships in Kazan, Russia, mixed pairs were allowed to enter.

Coach Marina Kholod, who represented Ukraine at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in synchronised swimming, said it was only a matter of time before men were allowed to compete in the sport at the Olympics.

She said it would be a change for the better.


“It would open so many possibilities with choreography,” Ms Kholod said.

“The creative part would be completely open to create different stories, love stories, whatever you say as a duet for male and female.

“Male strength, physical strength is way greater than female and the ability of the lifts, powerful choreography comes into place.”

Ms Kholod said she was training her junior squad in preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games.

“It’s like a long-term investment because to raise a really good synchronised swimmer at an international level takes between seven to 10 years, considering that you have good material initially.

“So it comes down to simple math that if you want to be in 2024 you have to start now.”

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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