"Imagine gymnastics, and dancing, and swimming, and strength training, and marathon running all together while you smile and don't breathe."

So said Aoife Drumm describing her beloved sport, synchronised swimming, on The Ryan Tubridy Show. Our host, true to form, wondered why anyone would do that voluntarily.

"It is the most fun you're ever going to have in the water" was her retort. And she should know; Aoife is a veteran swimmer, swimming coach, and water polo player, to name a few of her passions, but what has her completely sold on synchronized swimming is the intense camaraderie and support amongst team members:

"There's competition with other teams but within your own team you all want to support and help each other. And one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in the pool was one swimmer was just having a particular problem with one [move]. The entire team rallied around her and said, 'Well, when I was having problems, I tried this, let's try this with you’. No one was going to do anything else until this swimmer felt better about what she was doing."

Thirteen years ago, Aoife was one of swimming enthusiasts who answered the call when Swim Ireland facilitated a synchronised swimming course, and Aoife has been a passionate advocate for the sport ever since; a sport that fuses all the pageantry and spectacle of an Esther Williams movie and the rigour and discipline seen at the Olympics.

And, unsurprisingly, synchronicity is the key to the sport. When performing different moves, or figures, Aoife explained:

"You do [a figure] by yourself, it’s pretty. You do it with a group, it’s even more pretty. You do it on time, it looks amazing."

And what kind of tunes make the cut?

"That will depend on our theme for a show, on the ability of the swimmers, and what the swimmers like. At the end of the day, I will have final say on music depending on the beats in it. But at the same time, I do want the swimmers to enjoy the music because there's nothing worse than trying to train to something you don't like."

For beginners, a song with a strong regular beat helps the swimmers keep time. Aoife’s go-to tune? Chuck Berry’s Riding Along in my Automobile.

Listener to the show, Bernie, texted in wondering if she, a fit, flexible, fifty-something-year-old, would be a candidate and Aoife’s response was wholehearted:

"There’s no limit on who wants to do it."

And what about men?

"Of course! Men would have a really good time with synchronised swimming because [...] in normal swimming your legs would be your balance and your arms would be your power. In synchronised swimming you'll transfer that over but then your arms do a lot more balancing, as well as power, especially for the upside-down movements, and because men have more upper body strength, they would get great height."

And further illustrating Aoife’s point that it’s a sport suitable for almost anyone, she described the team performing in 12 days in a fundraising event – 21 swimmers; 18 of whom have never done synchronised swimming before. Some don't even want to get their faces wet or swim in deep water:

"That's not going to stop anybody. [...] We have adapted the routine for them that they don't have to go under the water. I’m not going to stop someone doing it if they want to do it {...} Everybody can do something."

So if you’re cruisin’ and playing the radio, with no particular place to go, check out the Dublin Synchro Facebook page here or you can contact Aoife at dublinsynchro@gmail.com.