The Chinese anthem sounded twice today during the Artistic Swimming World Cup portion of the Egypt Aquatics Festival at the Senzo Mall Sporting Club Olympic Complex in Somabay, the beautiful destination located on the eastern shores of Egypt.
Both the Chinese female and male soloists, Dai Shiyi and Yang Shuncheng, who are competing for the first time as Soloists, demonstrated that they are ready and have what it takes for the elite Artistic Swimming level, each executing their declared difficulties impressively well for even a seasoned competitor.
Solo Free Women
Making an impressive debut as a Solo Swimmer in Somabay is China’s Dai Shiyi Executing almost perfectly her very difficult routine, Dai received 33.80 points from the Technical Controllers, more than eight points ahead of the rest of the field. With a total of 338.2750 points, Dai deservingly received her first gold medal as a Solist.
“Today, I felt my performance was at my best. The intensity of this routine is higher than before. I need to be very powerful and very strong to control and manage this routine”, Dai shared about her performance, then explained how the theme “The Ballad of Mulan”, a historical Chinese folksong about a Chinese girl who goes to war instead of her father influences her, “I felt the theme of this routine swimming today. It’s a historical story about China. When I swim it well, I feel its powerful for people.”
The silver medal with a total of 299.8084 points was awarded to Austria’s Vasiliki Alexandri for her routine “Sound of Nature”. Vasiliki, receiving 24.9 for a difficulty score, was unable to execute the full degree of difficulty she declared, compared to last week in Montpellier where she received 27.95. Vasiliki explained the importance of these competitions en route to the World Championships in Fukuoka:
“With the new rules and the underwater twists, if you are just a few degrees away from completing the move, that’s a penalty. In the outdoor pool, it is much more difficult to know if you’ve completely completed the twist. But we take this, we learn from the mistakes from here and don’t let it happen again at a bigger event like the World Championships. From here to Fukuoka, I will work a lot on my execution, to better in this regard as well as being higher and more explosive. You know, those details, those last details.”
"we learn from the mistakes from here and don’t let it happen again at a bigger event like the World Championships."
Germany’s Marlene Bojer finished on the podium for the bronze medal with a score of 289.8542. Bojer was pleased with her performance, swimming to the song” I Did Something Bad” by Cynthia Erivo and Shoshana Bean, compared to last week’s when she received 230.2999 points.
“I’m happy with how I came back from yesterday. After that performance, I was quite disappointed, especially because I got a (base) mark on my last hybrid. I did a huge mistake, and I was so sad about that. To come back and do the routine like I did today, I’m very proud. It took a lot of mental fortitude to come back and swim like I did today.”
Boyer also noted a change in strategy to today's performance. “Last week in Montpellier, I competed with another routine," the 30-year-old German said. "Now, I’ve pushed the difficulty of this competition much higher to be competitive. It worked. I’m happy."
"I’m very proud. It took a lot of mental fortitude to come back and swim like I did today."
Solo Free Men
The Men’s Solo Free podium represented a repeat of yesterday’s Technical event. China’s Yang Shuncheng topped the podium as he continued to impress the judges and the audience with his performance of the technically very difficult routine “Warriors of the Night“ for which he was awarded the gold medal with 28.0500 points for difficulty and a total of 291.9209 points.
Today’s silver and bronze medalist expressed their thoughts on Yang’s arrival and performance, which has not gone unnoticed.
“It’s the first time I see him. He’s so good, man," said Gustavo Sanchez of Colombia. "He has so much difficulty in his solo.”
Added Fernando Diaz del Rio Soto of Spain: “Having new men’s performers encourages me to improve.”
Gustavo Sanchez‘s performance showed a huge improvement from last week. Receiving a very low 6.9500 difficulty score in Montpellier, today Sanchez executed the declared difficulty much better and received 20.6500 for his routine “The Passion of Christ”.
The Colombian’s total of 248.5709 points put him solidly in second place to receive his second silver medal in Egypt. Sanchez, who has been on the podium in every event he competed in Montpellier and thus far in Somabay, explained the importance of attending World Cup events:
“The World Cups are for seeing my competition, seeing what they are doing and where I can be better. I feel I can do better in the future, but it’s quite good for now.”
Like Sanchez, today’s winner of the bronze medal representing Spain, Fernando Diaz del Rio Soto, was able to improve the execution of his declared difficulty compared to last week, improving his difficulty score from 13.1000 to 18.1500.
Diaz del Rio Soto earned 235.4291 points for the choreography themed “Elements, Water, Air, and Fire.”
I’m satisfied with today, it’s one of my better scores. I’m proud of my performance,” del Rio Soto shared about his performance. “I improved most in the artistic. I used to always look down at the water. Now I really pay attention to look up and smile.”
Duet Technical Women
The Duet events in Somabay were set to see new names on the podium for the 2023 World Cup series. Improving considerably from Montpellier, Spain’s Iris Tio Casa and Alisa Ozhogina Ozhogin swam their “Let's play Baseball” routine to the song “Proud Mary” by Ike and Tina Turner and received 261.8625 points. The Spanish duo won their first medal this season, the gold with the highest difficulty score, 29.60, in today’s competition.
France claimed the silver medal with the duet from Anastasia Bayandina and Eve Planeix. The French pair improved their score from a week ago to 250.2334 points for their choreography called “Nature”, which was swum to "Prologue" – the song played during the flag exchange between Tokyo and Paris at the end of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Dutch duet of Bregje de Brouwer and Marloes Steenbeek performed their “Disco Vibe” to the eighties song "Far From Over" by Frank Stallone. The pair jumped on the bottom step of the podium to take the bronze medal with 249.7043 points.
Mixed Duet Technical
Third time was the charm today for the Spanish Mixed duo Fernando Diaz del Rio Soto and Emma Garcia, who have participated in each of the three World Cup series this season and finally made it onto the podium, all the way to the top for the gold medal. Their execution of the routine themed “The Four Seasons” saw a six-point increase in the earned difficulty score from the previous events and added to the pairs finals score of 244.8500 points.
Despite a penalty, Colombians Gustavo Sanchez and Jennifer Cerquera Hatiusca were able to deliver their “The Mystery of the Ocean” choreography solidly enough to score 212.2958 points and claim another bronze medal in this event, their fifth medal this 2023 season.
Mixed Team Free
Italy might have scored less points than last week in Montpellier where they won the bronze medal in this event, but the Italians were able to hold on and claim the gold medal with 310.9160 points.
The silver medal was awarded to hometown favourite Egypt. The Egyptians, with all the support from the crowd, performed their “Catching” routine solidly to receive 285.0397 points.
Winning their first medal this season in a Team event, Kazakhstan scored 277.3750 points for the bronze medal.
Coming Up | The Final Day of Artistic Swimming Action from Somabay
Monday, 15 May
- 17:00 EET Duet Free Women and Mixed Duet Free
- 19:45 EET Acrobatic Routine and Gala