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Synchronized swimming, long considered nothing more than an exhibition, has found new popularity as a full-grown sport

Pretty girls have been making meaningful movements to music in swimming pools for years, but until 1946, when it was given official AAU status, synchronized swimming had reached the public eye largely through gaudy, sequin-studded aquacade productions which bore little resemblance to sport in any form. There are still those who refuse to admit its validity, but thousands of women (and some men too) have taken up synchronized swimming as a demanding but not exhausting sport which puts a premium on grace and coordination rather than muscle power. This year for the first time synchronized swimming was admitted to the Pan-American Games (where the pictures on the following four pages were taken), and adherents of the sport are looking toward the day when it will be sanctioned for Olympic competition.

Brightly bedecked, Oakland's Athens Club quintet (including three pretty sisters) thrashes through "Sacrificial Rites of the Aztecs," which won for them the Pan-American Games championship. Clockwise from left are Sally Phillips, Joan Pawson, Lynn Pawson, Loretta Barrious and Mrs. Dawn Pawson Bean. Performing the same act last summer, Athens Club won the National Outdoor AAU title

Dripping wet, Lynn Pawson smiles happily after team's Pan-American victory