ETHAN Calleja is looking to change stereotypes about synchronised swimmers.
The Bentley resident and LeisureFit Booragoon-based SupaNova Synchronised Swimming Club member is set to compete at the 2019 Synchronised Swimming Australian Open and Age Group Championships being held in Sydney in April.
Calleja is one of only two men that have registered for the championships.
Men have only been allowed to participate in the sport since 2015 at the World Aquatics Championships.
He will compete in the mixed duets with Danielle Kettlewell from the West Coast Splash Synchronised Swimming Club and if they are successful, they compete at the World Aquatics Championships to be held in Gwangju, South Korea in July 2019.
Calleja said after 13 years as a swimmer, he made the decision to switch to synchronised swimming in January.
“You sometimes get people giving you puzzled looks when you tell them you are a synchronised swimmer but they don’t know how much effort it takes to compete,” he said.
“It’s so much harder that just swimming, you need to be powerful and it’s the same thing with gymnastics.
“I’m doing three water sessions, three gym sessions and one rhythmic gymnastics session per week.”
Calleja said he was only allowed to compete in the mixed duet section.
“It’s quite a new thing for males to be allowed to compete,” he said.
“We’ll see in April if we are good enough to compete in the World Championships, it’s up to the judges if we are able to go.
“It’s a different ball game in terms of our routine so we aren’t sure how it’s going to go.”
Calleja’s coach Briana Preiss said Ethan’s background as a swimmer had helped make the transition.
“Flexibility is not his strength but his dedication and commitment is holding him well,” she said.
“I think they will contend well for a spot in the World Championships.”