Synchronized skating is a team sport in which 8-20 skaters perform a program together. It uses the same judging system as singles, pairs, and dance and is characterized by teamwork, speed, intricate formations and challenging step sequences. As with the other disciplines, all teams perform a free skate with required well-balanced program elements. In addition, teams at the junior and senior level perform a short program consisting of required elements.
Elements in synchronized skating include blocks, circles, wheels, lines, intersections, moves in the field, creative elements, no-hold elements, spins and pairs moves. The variety and difficulty of elements require that each team member is a highly skilled individual skater. The typical senior-level athlete has passed a senior or gold test in at least two disciplines.
Synchronized teams in the U.S. can compete in 15 different levels according to the age and skill level of the team members. Teams competing at the Synchro Skills (beginner) level may compete at any U.S. Figure Skating synchronized skating non-qualifying competition or U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills competition. Teams competing at the developmental levels of Preliminary, Pre Juvenile, Open Juvenile, Open Collegiate, Open Adult or Open Masters may also compete at the Eastern, Midwestern or Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships, held annually at the end of January.
Teams at the competitive levels of Juvenile, Intermediate, Novice, Junior, Senior, Collegiate, Adult or Masters compete first at their respective sectional championships. A placement in the top four at sectionals earns them a spot at the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. Top-performing teams at the junior and senior levels at have the opportunity to earn a berth to the U.S. Synchronized Skating Team, with the top two senior teams going on to represent the United States at the World Synchronized Skating Championships.