The 2014 European Swimming Championships is taking place in Berlin from 13 to 24 August. Next week the focus will be on diving and swimming in the pool, but this week is all about open water and synchronised swimming.

Synchronised swimming combines elements of dance, gymnastics and swimming. Competitors need to be graceful, strong and agile. They also need to be able to hold their breaths for a long time.

These photos, taken both above and below the surface of the water, show the grace, power and downright strangeness of the sport.

The Spanish team performs their free routine in the synchronised swimming event
The Spanish team performs their free routine in the synchronised swimming event(AFP)
Another photo of the Spanish team performing their free routine
Another photo of the Spanish team performing their free routine(AFP)
Ukraine's Anna Voloshina performs in the synchronised swimming solo free routine preliminaries
Ukraine's Anna Voloshina performs in the synchronised swimming solo free routine preliminaries(Reuters)
Greece's Evangelia Platanioti performs her solo free routine
Greece's Evangelia Platanioti performs her solo free routine(AFP)
The French team competes in the synchronised swimming team free preliminary event
The French team competes in the synchronised swimming team free preliminary event(AFP)
Evangelia Papazoglou and Evangelia Koutidi of Greece compete in the synchronised swimming duet free preliminary event
Evangelia Papazoglou and Evangelia Koutidi of Greece compete in the synchronised swimming duet free preliminary event(AFP)
Austria's Nadine Brandl performs in the synchronised swimming free routine preliminary event
Austria's Nadine Brandl performs in the synchronised swimming free routine preliminary event(AFP)
France's team performs their free routine
France's team performs their free routine(AFP)
The Russian team performs their free routine
The Russian team performs their free routine(AFP)
Hungary's team performs their free routine
Hungary's team performs their free routine(AFP)
The team from Great Britain go through their technical routine
The team from Great Britain go through their technical routine(AFP)
Russia's Svetlana Romashina performs her solo free routine
Russia's Svetlana Romashina performs her solo free routine(AFP)
Szofi Kiss and Dora Anett Schwarcz of Hungary compete in the synchronised swimming duet free preliminary event
Szofi Kiss and Dora Anett Schwarcz of Hungary compete in the synchronised swimming duet free preliminary event(AFP)
Great Britain competes in the synchronised swimming team free preliminary event
Great Britain competes in the synchronised swimming team free preliminary event(AFP)
The Ukrainian synchronised swimming team performs the free routine
The Ukrainian synchronised swimming team performs the free routine(AFP)
The Greek squad competes in the synchronised swimming team technical event
The Greek squad competes in the synchronised swimming team technical event(AFP)
Greece's Evangelia Platanioti performs her solo free routine
Greece's Evangelia Platanioti performs her solo free routine(AFP)