In front of an excitable home crowd, Greece won their first gold medal in the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series during the final event of the 2022 season – the Free Combination.
The FINA Artistic Swimming World Series 2022 came to a fitting close at the historic Olympic Sport Complex “Spyros Louis” Aquatic Center in the Greek capital After Sunday’s four medal events and the awarding of the USD 310,000 prize purse, the sport’s 2022 regular season came to a rousing close with the always entertaining Gala Event.
The final performance allowed the athletes to swim in creative routines in a fun and relaxed environment without the pressure of competition. For the latter, next month’s 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest will provide plenty.
The Free Duet was the first event of the day and included duos representing fourteen countries. Austria’s Anna-Maria and Eirini Alexandri performed the routine with which they finished seventh at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Swimming to the dark and creepy music and using spot on facial expressions earned the pair 91.6000 points for another gold medal, Austria’s fourth in Athens.
Eirini said the sisters were very satisfied with their weekend performances, adding: “We’re looking forward to the FINA World Championships. We want to improve – even more, both our performance in the water and higher scores. We’re excited about Budapest. We can’t wait.”
“We have learned a lot from this first competition together and we are looking forward to worlds” said de Brouwer after their swim, to which Steenbeek added, “It’s been a real honour to compete with Bregje for the first time.”
In the “A New World” routine, swum to music written specifically for the routine by Aruna Vila, the Israeli duet Eden Blecher and Shelly Bobritsky portrayed their hope for a better world, post-pandemic.
After finishing fourth in the Duet Technical yesterday, the Israel duo of Blecher and Bobritsky scored 85.8000 to make it onto the podium for bronze.
“We’re really happy with the results. We worked hard for this. And tried our best and we got out what we could do. And this is the results,” Blecher said.
Bobritsky added: “We were very hungry from yesterday because we missed the medals by just a little bit. We were very focused, and we wanted to do our very best.”
Mixed Free Duet
In the Mixed Duet that followed, Spain’s Emma Garcia and Pau Ribes received 84.0000 points for their portrayal of “Cats.” The performance earned the duo their second gold in Athens. Garcia and Ribes have won a total of 4 gold and 2 silver medals in the 2022 World Series season.
Italy’s Nicolo’ Ogliari, silver medalist in the Male Free Solo in Athens, paired with Frederica Sala for the Mixed Duet. The Italian duo scored 82.5667 for the silver medal.
Swimming to Japanese music by Revo, USA’s Claudia Coletti and Kenneth Gaudet expertly contrasted the female beauty and male strength in their technically risky choreography themed “Attack on Titan” as earned 80.9333 points to secure bronze.
Mixed Team Highlight
The ten athletes representing the USA headed into the 2022 Super Final undefeated in the Highlight event. With a score of 86.8333 for their performance of on the music by Chinese composer Tan Dun, the Americans again topped the podium.
“We choose Cave People because we thought this would be the most powerful and that would really show our strengths,” explained Team USA’s Daniella Ramirez. “We wanted to make sure our team looked strong throughout the routine.”
Greece, supported by its hometown audience, had a strong first showing of a brand-new routine reflecting Greek culture. The team from Greece received 85.0000 points for silver.
“We are very happy with our performance and we’re looking forward to the World Championships”, said Kryslalenia Gialama. “We have a lot of things to correct, but I think we are a very good team, and we can do even better next time.”
With a score of 84.5677, Israel earned bronze, their fourth medal in Athens.
“We did very good; we’re very happy with our result. We’re quite excited to be showing the routines we have been working on”, Shelly Bobritsky said.
Explaining their musical choice, Bobritsky added: “Yes, it’s very powerful music. We tried to show as many lifts and acrobatics as possible. We are enjoying performing it.”
Mixed Team Combo
As the hometown favourites, the Greek team kept the suspense and emotions high until the very last event of the three-day competition to win a gold medal.
With a score of 85.9333, Greece stepped to the top of the podium as the sounds of their national anthem filled the Aquatic Center.
"We’re really happy with the results, getting the gold in the Combination," said Sofia Evang Malkogeorgou of Greece. "We’re really proud to have this very beautiful crowd and we got the chance to swim here."
The silver medal was a close race with Israel prevailing with their 85.1667 point performance. They swam a brand-new “Espada Passion” routine to a vibrant, fast, and energetic Musicality Remix.
Kazakhstan claimed the final medal of the Super Final. Performing the “Spanish Dance” routine the Kazakhs earned a score of 80.8000 as they swam to Malaguena by Brian Setzer.
Next on the Calendar
The 19th FINA World Championships start on June 17th in Budapest. The full schedule of events for Artistic Swimming can be found here.
Want to revisit how this year’s season unfolded? Here are the full results of this and the previous three legs of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series 2022.