Kyoto Tohsuikai's artistic swimming team has been taking online lessons to improve its performance.
With the pool unavailable from mid-April due to the new coronavirus and competitions being canceled, the team has been making effective use of its free time.
In addition to training at home, the team received choreography coaching and make-up lessons from members of the Spanish national team and the swimmers are making the most of that valuable experience in pool practice that resumed on May 24.
Thirteen elementary and junior high and high school students took part in online training every week using the video conferencing app Zoom.
The students worked on ballet and strength training and team sub-leader Wakana Sakamoto, a first-year student at Kyoto Bunkyo High School, said, "You can build on the training you have done on land in the water. Artistic swimming is a team competition and if you work together you have the same spirit."
The exchange with the Spanish national team came about through a Japanese former swimmer who works as one of the Spanish team's coaches. The students learned choreography from the likes of London Olympic medalist Ona Carbonell.
Kyoto Tohsuikai coach Kazumi Ishiyama expressed her gratitude, saying, "It was a good experience for the children."
The swimming team also took a make-up course on May 31 after pool practice resumed. Former Japan national team swimmer and makeup artist Miho Arai taught them, and the players learned how to draw effective eye lines while watching on their computer monitor.
Yuki Mitsuya, a Kyoto Bunkyo first-year high school student, said, "Beautiful people look attractive during contests. I really enjoyed (the classes) and learned a lot. Until (the schedule of) competitions is decided I want to practice and build towards a good performance."