A Russian artistic swimmer has gone viral thanks to her elaborate underwater dances.
Kristina Makushenko, 26, first took up synchronized swimming as a child and has since gone on to become world champion four times and win gold at the European championships twice.
After retiring from the sport, she moved to Miami, Florida to work as a coach, and started posting videos of her dancing to hits by Beyoncé, Justin Bieber and Blackpink.
She’s found a firm following on social media, and now boasts over 300,000 followers on Instagram, and over 1.2 million on TikTok.
In a recent clip, she emulated dancer Sean Bankhead’s choreography to Normani and Cardi B’s hit “Wild Side.”
Her video caught the attention of the former Fifth Harmony star who commented “JUST WOW” while Bankhead echoed her sentiments writing: “WOW!”
The video sees her swim in a pair of heeled leopard print boots to Normani’s latest solo single.
It currently has over 70,000 views on her Instagram page.
“At age 6, my parents were thinking about which sport they should put me in because I was a very energetic child and they thought putting me in sport would be a great idea so I can spend my energy there,” Makushenko told Newsweek.
“I actually started doing regular swimming, and then three months later my coach recommended artistic swimming because she saw my natural flexibility and floating abilities.”
Makushenko first started a TikTok account when the pandemic hit to entertain herself. After partnering with Nike Swimwear, the brand asked her to post an underwater video and her account blew up.
“I thought I should do a couple more for fun and it all started from there.”
In her videos, Makushenko continues to challenge herself, swimming underwater with a skateboard, appearing to walk on the water’s surface in heels, and even attempting to apply a full face of makeup while underwater, sitting on the floor of a swimming pool.
Her favorite so far has been walking a 360-degree circle in heels under the water, she explained, but still feels like she can keep pushing herself.
“I’m always feeling I have to do only better and better because I’m a perfectionist in general and for me to like my own videos it’s actually hard,” she said.
“I always see mistakes and think I could do better.”
Asked how she feels about her viral fame, Makushenko explained she “can’t believe it.”
“Every time my friends tell me their friends saw me from some famous social media pages. I can’t believe how small the world is.
“Originally I’m from Moscow and moved to Miami six years ago. My audience is based mostly in U.S. of course but still I know around the whole world people have seen them [my videos].”
As for the future, Mukashenko said: “I just want to see where all this will take me,” before adding: “My dream is to be filmed in movies, which are related to water.”