Canada and USA each win 2 gold medals and Russian Aleksandr Maltsev wins his third gold medal on the second day of the 4th leg of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series.
On the second and final day of the 2021 FINA Artistic Swimming World Series hosted virtually by Canada, hometown favorites Jaqueline Simoneau and the Highlight Team claimed top honors in the first and final medal events on the program. Canada can look back on a very successful event that saw participation from seventeen countries and three clubs from the Czech Republic, a remarkable increase from the first virtual ASWS. Jamaica and Cayman Islands participated for the first time in a World Series event.
The second virtual went even better than the first one, more countries, more people involved, more people watching. With every virtual that we have, more people tune in, which is great for our sport, because more people become aware of our sport, our competitions.
Several talented Junior athletes made their debuts, displaying their talent while gaining experience on the World stage. Seasoned elite athletes showed the results of their hard work, their contribution to the growth and development of the sport, using this event to fine tune and perfect their routines for next month’s Olympic Qualifier and Artistic Swimming World Series Super Final in Barcelona, Spain. This event validated many of the possibilities for the future of the sport of Artistic Swimming.
Canadian Jacqueline Simoneau scored 90.7000 to win the gold medal for her performance to music composed by Michael Berger from the Rock Opera “Starmania” in the Free Solo event. USA’s Anita Alvarez won the silver medal with a score of 87.0667. Alvarez’s love for performing shone through as she performed gracefully, yet powerful, to Jessie J’s Confessions. Asaka Hosokawa, representing Japan for the first time as a Soloist, earned her second medal of this series. Her performance was dynamic, creatively using facial expressions and her entire body from the tip of her fingers down to her feet for the artistic impression. Hosokawa, with dreams for Paris 2024, received 84.7333 and the bronze medal for her “Hope” routine.
I am quite pleased with the results considering I competed here without much training or warmup due to a 2-week quarantine after returning from the Budapest leg of the 2021 ASWS. Considering the circumstances, I am pleased but today I am far better than I was during this performance. Since we have already qualified for the Olympics in both the Duet and the Team events, Barcelona for us, will be to gain as much experience as possible
The gold medal in the Male Free Solo event was won by Japan’s Jimma Iwasaki with a score of 81.8667, followed by Fernando Diaz Del Rio Soto from Spain, who scored 79.7000 to win his second silver medal of this competition. There were 5 competitors in the Male Solo event, which is its inaugural year as an event on the ASWS program, however, only competitors representing their countries and only one competitor from each country can win a medal and score points for their country.
I think it is incredible that the Male Solo event has been added to the World Series, we have also added the possibility of adding two Males to the Combo and to the Highlight events. Just seeing more men competing at the World Series events, I think, will push to our inclusion into the Olympic Games. It is great to see the increase in the number of males participating, but the change in the level and the quality of the male athletes is especially amazing to witness.
With the Olympic Qualifyication event coming up, the Duet events during this World Series were highly anticipated. After winning the gold in yesterday’s Technical Duet event, Olympic hopefuls, USA’s Anita Alvarez and Lindi Schroeder, continued to reveal the improvements in their routine with a solid performance to the song “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish. The pair won their second gold medal of this weekend and their fourth gold of the 2021 ASWS with a score of 86.3333.
We filmed our swims a month ago, so it is very interesting to watch them now because we have corrected and improved a lot since then. It is a little bit rewarding because I can see the progress we have made in the past month. We are focused on perfecting the details and being consistent in nailing every part of the routine. We are also paying attention to our expression and what it will be like to perform in front of judges. Barcelona will be the home to the most important competition that we have faced as a team. We are excited, focused, and ready.
With a score of 84.5000, the duet representing Spain, Gema Arquero Ortiz and Gabriela Fernandez Ceppi claimed the silver medal. Their routine swam to an Electronic remix featured many robotic movements emphasizing their power. The bronze medal was shared by another pair seeking Olympic Qualification, Marlene Bojer and Michele Zimmer from Germany, and Junior superstars from Japan, Yuriko Mitsuhashi and Asaka Hosokawa. Each duet scored 82.5667 to make it onto the podium.
Adding to his two gold medals from Day 1, Russia’s Aleksandr Maltsev earned gold again in the Free Mixed Duet, this time with new partner Olesia Platonova. The pair scored 92.4667 for their new routine swum to the music of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. The impressive score validation of the way the pair performed the choreography which was filled with many small, yet complicated movements of their legs and feet to complement the classical music. In a repeat of yesterday’s finish in the Technical Mixed Duet, Spain’s Emma Garcia and Pau Ribes claimed the silver medal again, scoring 85.9333 for their interpretation of the Broadway Musical Cats. With a score of 77.7333, the Mixed Duet from Japan Hiyori Okano and Yotaro Sato won the bronze medal performing the routine “Jumpin’ Jack” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
We should develop male solo. There are athletes who are able to perform properly and gracefully, presenting their skills and beautiful men’s swimming which will differ from women’s routines. But it is important to make this discipline an official one. As a test event it won’t give an impulse to the teams and athletes. They will focus on the already acknowledged mixed-duets. For example in the World Series it is allowed to involve one or two male swimmers in combi and highlight. It’s not obligatory but optionally. Such attitude is not correct to my mind. There should be a general rule. Otherwise nobody will be interested in preparing mixed-groups. From one hand working with mixed-team gives new opportunities, from the other – new problems and challenges.
Three Teams, Belarus, Spain and USA, competed in the Free Team routine for the medals and points. USA scored 89.0667 to claim top honors. Besides the Duet event, the Team event is the only other event contested at the Olympic Games. At the Olympic Qualifying event in Barcelona next month, there are 3 spots available for the Team event in Tokyo. USA’s “Robot” routine showcasing several innovative lifts and signature moves will be a strong contender one of those three spots in a few weeks. Winning the silver medal was the Team from Spain, scoring 86.5000 for their “Avatar” routine. Belarus was awarded 83.1000 and the bronze medal for their routine that told the victorious story of overcoming danger, escape, resistance, and offence.
Canada’s Highlight Routine, appropriately themed “The New Power Generation”, was filled with explosive movements from start to finish and highlighted the Canadian’s strength, power, and creativity. Performing Denise Sauve ’s choreography to the fast-paced music by Wolfgang Gartner and Aero Chors, the Canadians earned 87.9667 to claim the last of this leg’s gold medals. Belarus finished in second place, receiving 82.500 points and the silver medal for their “Hard Rock” routine.
Today’s Gala event, Artistic Swimming’s creative opportunity to showcase the athlete’s and coaches’ talents and individuality without rules may have been one of the best ones yet. It was entertaining and full of surprises. Spectators witnessed several fun routines in home pools around the world but were also treated to a beautiful beach and ocean in Puerto Rico, a beautiful lagoon and waterfalls in the mountains of Jamaica, canals surrounded by windmills in the Netherlands, and an informative underwater view of Artistic Swimming athletes. A true testament of the limitless abilities of the Artistic Swimming community.
Next up for Artistic Swimming is the Super Final of the Artistic Swimming World Series in Barcelona Spain June 10 - 14, 2021. National Federations will be able to continue earning points during the Super Final and the prize money associated with the 2021 ASWS will be distributed after the Super Final based upon the points scored at a minimum of two ASWS legs. Prize money will be distributed to the Top 12 National Federations in each of the following four categories: Solo’s, Duet, Mixed Duet, and Team events. The Super Final will be in combination with the Olympic Qualification event to determine the final qualifiers for Tokyo.