Virginie Dedieu

How to do 
a sailboat, ballet leg, flamingo and double leg.

Synchronised swimming figures sometimes have rather original names. We agree that this may seem quite complicated to the uninitiated!

This article looks at a combination of figures that forms part of the basics in synchronised swimming: the sailboat, ballet leg, flamingo and double leg.

The sailboat, ballet leg, flamingo and double leg: what are they?

It all starts in the layout position: your body is horizontal, stretched and taut. You stay afloat by sculling with your hands, but also by stretching
You must be stretched tight from the tips of your toes to the top of your head! Your head must also be straight and stretched, with your chin pointing towards the ceiling. You can also stretch properly by pretending that an imaginary wire is pulling your head one way and your feet in the opposite direction. Try to make yourself as long as possible!

Virginie Dedieu

The sailboat: one of the first positions you learn

Start off in the layout position, as described above, then bend your leg so that the tip of your foot reaches the back of the knee of your other leg
Your thigh must be at right angles with the rest of your body, with the other leg fully stretched and your eyes looking at the ceiling. And that's it, you are now in the sailboat position! 

Virginie Dedieu

The ballet leg is the continuation
of the sailboat

You must stretch out your leg without moving your thigh, forming a right angle between your whole body and your leg. But look out, this will apply more pressure! So, you must speed up the movement of your hands and keep your fingers tightly together in order to scull properly. Being fully stretched out will always help to execute these figures. The more you are stretched out, the lighter you will feel! Remember the imaginary wire. Now, it is pulling your head one way, your supporting leg the other and your raised leg towards the ceiling. A little tip. Never look at your foot! Try to keep looking at the ceiling, or even slightly towards the rear. Make yourself taller! 

Virginie Dedieu

And now: the flamingo!

A flamingo is a ballet leg, in which you also bend your supporting leg. Bring your thigh towards your chest. Imperative: your shin and foot must remain on the surface! Pull this leg towards you until the middle of your calf reaches your leg that is vertical. Sounds difficult? An image says more than a thousand words. Just watch for yourself!

Virginie Dedieu

And finally: the double leg!

From the flamingo position, stretch your folded leg until it is vertical, so that both of your legs are side by side. This means that all the weight will be on your hips! At this point, you really need strong support. Accelerate the movement of your hands, while bringing them very close to your hips, as if you wanted to put them under your buttocks, in order to be as efficient as possible. Your legs are now perpendicular to the surface, and your face must be out of the water. This really is a difficult figure. But it's perfectly feasible too! 
It obviously takes a lot of practice, but practice makes perfect, according to Virginie Dedieu! 

Virginie Dedieu
Virginie Dedieu

Some tips on practising 
the sailboat, ballet leg, flamingo and double leg.

When you start learning these figures, you always use external aids. Practise the sailboat and the ballet leg with the foot of your supporting leg resting in the gutter of the pool or on a foam noodle. You can also practise these positions out of the water, on the floor, with your shoulders and shins resting on a stack of boards. Your body will be well balanced and must be taut! When practising these figures, you can also use buoys for greater buoyancy.  
You can then concentrate on the positions rather than on your support! 

How to do a sailboat, ballet leg, flamingo and double leg.

Virginie dedieu shares some tips with you

Olympic medal-winner and triple world champion, Virginie Dedieu, has teamed up with Decathlon to share her many tips and tutorials that will help you to improve your artistic swimming.

In this video, she explains how to perform and improve your sailboat, ballet leg and double ballet leg.

The most important thing is to rest on your head and stretch out as far as possible!

It is no secret that synchronised swimming figures demand a lot of practice! 
Like in any discipline, hard work is the key to success. And if you don't get it right first time, then try again. Maybe the next time will be the right time :)  

Camille Adam

Camille adam

I started synchro at the age of 9. It was my mum who signed me up: I liked to do shows, I was super comfortable in the water, and fascinated by everything that glittered ... and it quickly became obvious that synchro swimming and me would last a long time! I love the type of effort that this discipline requires: core strength, breathing control, being able to move in every direction and dimension, swim, smile ... and also obviously the collective side of things: it's amazing how strong a team is! Helping each other, support, perseverance,
perfectionism, stress management. synchro has been my best school of life skills, whether as a swimmer or as a coach.