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.

synchronised swimming 2014
The Spanish team performs their free routine in the synchronised swimming event(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
Another photo of the Spanish team performing their free routine(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
Ukraine's Anna Voloshina performs in the synchronised swimming solo free routine preliminaries(Reuters)
synchronised swimming 2014
Greece's Evangelia Platanioti performs her solo free routine(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
The French team competes in the synchronised swimming team free preliminary event(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
Evangelia Papazoglou and Evangelia Koutidi of Greece compete in the synchronised swimming duet free preliminary event(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
Austria's Nadine Brandl performs in the synchronised swimming free routine preliminary event(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
France's team performs their free routine(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
The Russian team performs their free routine(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
Hungary's team performs their free routine(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
The team from Great Britain go through their technical routine(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
Russia's Svetlana Romashina performs her solo free routine(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
Szofi Kiss and Dora Anett Schwarcz of Hungary compete in the synchronised swimming duet free preliminary event(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
Great Britain competes in the synchronised swimming team free preliminary event(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
The Ukrainian synchronised swimming team performs the free routine(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
The Greek squad competes in the synchronised swimming team technical event(AFP)
synchronised swimming 2014
Greece's Evangelia Platanioti performs her solo free routine(AFP)