Sisters-in-arms or water nymphs, call them whatever you want, you just can't keep your eyes off them. They stand out, not because of their glittering bodysuits or vivid make-up, but for the finesse they bring to an arena where power and agility usually have the upper hand.
On Thursday, Delhiites feasted on an eclectic performance put up by talented synchronised swimmers, whose inspiration ranged from classical music to Metallica or even A.R. Rahman's Jai Ho.
Earlier known as water ballet, synchronised swimming rose in Europe but with the Americas and Australia making quick progress, it soon became an international feature that's now included in the FINA World Cup as well.
Canada triumphed on Thursday. And in more than one way, it was Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon's rhythmic waltz that helped them to two easy gold.
But how? Not by performing to classical music, a safe bet, but to the evergreen heart-stomping beats of Metallica. “We absolutely love Metallica so we decided to perform the Master of Puppets routine,” said Boudreau-Gagnon and partner Isaac Chloe. They got off to a perfect start, twisting their bodies around each other to represent a woman playing a cello before taking the plunge. From then on, Metallica ruled.
Gentle pats on still water gave way to furious, attuned but resolute stomping. Pain melted into anguish while the gentle strum of the guitar deceitfully masked the heralding of a sudden and delirious show of ecstasy that took over the swimmers as they cut through the water with aplomb. With their hair gelled tightly to their scalps and nose-clips facilitating longer periods of under-water endurance, Boudreau-Gagnon and Chloe took to their routine like a fish takes to water.
Hours of practice have made them perfect. “We have been practising for two years now and still have a long way to go," said Boudreau-Gagnon.
Some are even real life siblings. Kirstin and Caitlin Anderson were medal hopes for New Zealand but they were just not good enough. On the other hand, the English pair of Olivia Allison and Jenna Randall was a picture of unmitigated alliance even though they were not related.