I feel like patterns in a team are more important than synchronization. Let me explain why.
For me patterns is the picture your are setting up for the judges. As long as the patterns are inaccurate the judge will always be trying to guess what exactly you are trying to show. Is that swimmer in line with that swimmer? Are they supposed to be moving?
Then if the pattern is off, if you do something that is a cadence now the cadence looks wrong. Something that is supposed to be unsynchronized, looks wrong due to the pattern.
Also pattern changes now look unsynchronized because some swimmers are closer or further from the pattern and the timing they hit the next pattern is off. Although usually the next pattern is inaccurate.
So for me patterns are key to the understandability of a routine.
MY Correcting Rules!
My go to corrections are:
3. Everything else.
There is one exception.
If there is a blatant mistake no matter what it is. Sync, falling on a spin, only one swimmer out of pattern, I correct that first.
Ultimately, whatever catches your attentions will catch the judges attention and their score. You want your team to be as similar as possible so the judges can enjoy your routine instead of being distracted.