Cork solicitor takes plunge as first male ‘water ballerina


By Eoin English

Friday, May 29, 2009

HE’S been crowned amateur world elephant polo champion, he was Ireland’s first-ever competitor at the sumo world wrestling championships in Osaka, and he holds the world record for the three-legged marathon. But adrenalin junkie Colin Carroll is about to make his biggest-ever splash.

The Cork-based solicitor has pulled on his Speedos to break into the fiercely competitive – and almost exclusively female – world of international synchronised swimming.

The self-styled "sports visionary" has helped set up Synchro Ireland – the country’s first synchronised swimming club.

And he has vowed to use his legal expertise to overcome any barriers that may prevent him from becoming the first man to compete for his country in the sport at both European and international level.

"For the first time, this is an event that’s not about me. This is about the team. And my teammates make this look so easy. They should call this formation drowning," Colin said.

Coached by Anna O’Connor, Colin is training up to three hours a night, three nights a week with his teammates Gillian Fenton, Maura O’Connell, Joanne O’Connor, Fiadhnat O’Meara and Paula Magnier. They are targeting the world synchronised swimming championships in Spain in September. But once that’s out of the way, they hope to represent Ireland in the sport at the London Olympics in 2012.

Synchronised swimming is a hybrid form of swimming, dance and figure skating, where swimmers perform a synchronised routine of elaborate moves in the water, to music.

Often called water ballet, the sport requires great strength, endurance, flexibility, grace, artistry and precise timing, as well as exceptional breath control when upside-down underwater. Colin and his team perform their routine to traditional Irish music.

"It’s the ultimate Riverdance. Swimming is horizontal. But synchronised swimming is three-dimensional – it’s horizontal, vertical and sideways, with underwater lifts and everything," Colin said.

Coach O’Connor, who trained as a synchronised swimming coach more than 20 years ago, said he has taken to it like the proverbial duck to water.

"It’s not that easy for men because women float much better in water, so it is a little bit harder for him. But he is excellent. He has great fitness and technique," she said.

And shaving his legs for competition would be a matter entirely for himself, she added.


This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Friday, May 29, 2009


“Are you interested in partaking in a world record?"

Synchro Ireland is currently considering staging the world’s largest open water synchronised swimming routine in the River Blackwater in Fermoy, Co. Cork.


Welcome to SYNCHRO Irelands Official Website


Since 1907, when the Australian, Annette Kellerman, performed in a glass tank, many advocates of synchronized swimming in Fermoy, Co. Cork, have cried out for a national synchronized swimming club to be established in the town. Now Ireland’s first “water ballet” club has come to town!

Fermoy is now the Irish capital of synchronized swimmers. Synchro Ireland™, a volunteer-based organisation, has as its mission the development of synchronized swimming throughout the island of Ireland. As the national HQ of synchronized swimming, Synchro Ireland’s vision is to develop a grass-roots platform of synchronised swimmers, training a new breed of paddlers in the graceful art of synchronized swimming, with the clear objective of ultimately fielding a national team to attend international synchronized swimming events.

Ever since 1984, when the International Olympic Committee officially accepted synchronized swimming as a sport, Ireland has not only ignored this aesthetic aquatic sport by not educating the countries swimmers in new strokes but also neglected to target key international swimming events where the Irish flag might conceivably be raised over a podium position. Synchro Ireland’s immediate ambition is to field a team in the London Olympics of 2012.

Anna O’Connor and Colin Carroll have known one another for more than a decade when both met through their involvement in swimming and health & fitness instruction. Since 2007 Anna and Colin have collaborated in the formation of Synchro Ireland™.

Synchro Ireland does not discriminate against synchronized swimmers on a gender basis and both male and female swimmers are encouraged to participate.

The Organisation
Synchro Ireland™ is a non-profit volunteer association. It is an independent educational organisation dedicated to the encouragement and betterment of synchronized swimming in Ireland. Synchro Ireland trains at the swimming pool in Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland.

Synchro Ireland is currently looking for a national sponsor who can be assured of receiving much national and international exposure!