Under the current rules of USA Synchro, competitors are divided into groups by age. The age groups are: 10 and Under, 11-12, 13-15, 16-17, 18-19, Junior (elite 15-18), Senior (elite 18+), Collegiate, and Master. In addition to these groups, younger swimmers may be divided by ability into 3 levels: Novice, Intermediate, and Age Group.
Swimmers compete year-round at competitions called "meets". A typical meet begins with the swimmers doing "figures", which are positions performed individually without music. All swimmers must compete wearing a black swimsuit and white swimcap, as well as goggles and a noseclip. Figures are performed in front of a panel of judges who score individual swimmers from 1 to 10 (10 being the best). Swimmers begin the routine portion of the meet after the figure competition.
Each swimmer may compete in up to three of the following routine events: solo, duet, trio, combo (consisting of eight to ten swimmers, and team (consisting of four to eight swimmers). Figure scores are combined with routines to determine the final rankings. Arizona Desert Gems has an Intermediate duet and several Age Group teams competing for the 2012 season, including a 10 & Under team, 11-12 team, 13-15 team, 16-17 team, and an 18-19 team.