In sync with the times

By SUN XIAOCHEN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-10-08 09:52
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Shi Haoyu, one of only two male artistic swimmers who featured at the 19th Asian Games, in action with Team China in the team acrobatic artistic swimming event at the Asian Games on Friday. GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY

With two men competing in artistic swimming for the first time at the Asian Games, the once female-dominated discipline is evolving

Bringing power and diversity to the "ballet on water", men's artistic swimmers have dived deep into the once female-only aquatic discipline, with stereotypes shattered and Olympic dreams renewed.

Despite everyone elegantly and precisely performing to the same beat, Shi Haoyu on China's artistic swimming team easily stood out in the pool, with his swimming costume accentuating his bare chest and angular physique, as the home team danced to rousing cheers from the partisan crowd at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Aquatic Sports Arena on Friday.

Shi, one of only two male artistic swimmers who featured at the 19th Asian Games, has grown used to the "oohs" and "aahs", and even, at times, the snickers, from members of the crowd at every major meet he's competed in since the former junior swimmer joined the synchronized program in 2015.

"I don't think we need to care too much about people's opinions, as long as we stay true to ourselves and stay confident about what we are doing and what we are passionate about," Shi said after performing with his seven female teammates to earn the host a leading score of 235.7534 points in the team acrobatic routine on Friday.

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