Russia ‘arrived’ to the Duna Arena as the discipline’s powerhouse collected two golds in the morning session of Day 2 at the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Budapest. Since they only entered the solo and team events, the titles on offer in the afternoon went to the Ukrainians who won the highlight routine and the duet free, so they lead 4-2 in the title race in leg 5.

 Russia gave another fine teaser of what they are respected for in artistic swimming. Scoring 94s in both the team technical and solo technical events they proved their class again. As for the team, no one was surprised that they came first, ahead of Ukraine and Italy.

Just the usual brilliance from team Russia (Photos: Jozsef Szaka)

As their Olympic champion and 8-time world champion team member Mariya Surochkina put it: “Emotions are still running high so don’t expect to tell you big things. We are in a kind of combat mood as we will have another event tomorrow which is really important for us. We are in the middle of our preparations and I think we did a good job. Right now I cannot assess our overall performance, whether we’ve made a smaller or bigger mistake. Perhaps we feel that all was good but later we’ll watch the video and our coaches will give their feedback based on what they see.”

The Russians received their medals from Hungary's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Szijjarto

What came next was a glimpse into the future. Since Russia’s current top swimmer, Svetlana Kolesnichenko (grabbed four world titles last year in Budapest) has encountered minor knee problems, the emperors sent their next big one to the pool.

Remember this name: Varvara Subbotina. The 17 year-old charmed everyone with her outstanding bodyshape, skills and ultimately her performance... She is set to be the next queen in the years coming, so Budapest might be considered a historical venue where Subbotina clinched her first-ever senior international title.


Yakno, Subbotina and Cerruti: the top soloists

With the Russians skipping the afternoon events, Ukraine stepped up once again as on Friday and collected two more triumphs. First they topped the ranks in the highlight routine, then came the first big win, in the duet free. Anastasiya Savchuk and Yelyzaveta Yakhno and thrilled the crowd once more and perhaps deserved the golden girls distinction as this was their 4th victory here in Budapest.

A highlighted walk from the Ukrainians

The minor spoils went to the Italian pair of Linda Cerruti and Constanza Ferro, and to the Austrian twins, Anna-Maria and Eirini Alexandri. In fact, it was the same scenario as in the technical routine, Ukraine’s junior duet, also twins, Marina and Vladyslava Aleksiiva got higher marks but due to the rules only one team per nation is considered for the World Series ranks so the Austrian sisters got the bronze.

Medallists of the duet free

FINA Artistic Swimming World Series Budapest Open – Medallists, Day 2

Team technical routine

1. Russia 94.6289

2. Ukraine 92.0168

3. Italy 88.3951

Solo technical routine

1. Varvara Subbotina (RUS) 94.1510

2. Yelizaveta Yakno (UKR) 91.0814

3. Linda Cerruti (ITA) 88.5434 

Highlight routine

1. Ukraine 93.1333

2. Israel 79.7333

3. Slovakia 75.1000 

Duet free routine

1. Anastasiya Savchuk, Yelyzaveta Yakhno (UKR) 92.2668

2. Linda Cerrutti, Constanza Ferro (ITA) 90.5998

3. Anna-Maria Alexandri, Eirini Alexandri (AUT) 86.0000