Four different anthems - those of Japan, Italy, Spain, and Israel - sounded on the second day of the World Aquatics Artistic Swimming World Cup Super Final underway at the Piscinas Parque del Oeste in Oviedo, Spain. In total eight different countries took home medals.
Spain was most successful, adding four more medals to its collection. Results were surprising, but well-earned, not just because of the changes in the scoring system, the Junior athletes are showing their potential and making their presence known. As the Artistic Swimming community is becoming more familiar with the importance of the coaches cards, base marks, and declaration of difficulty, the reality of the new scoring system is allowing for an exciting future for the sport.
Solo Women Free
Repeating the results of the Technical event, the top of the podium was occupied by the reigning World Champion Yukiko Inui from Japan, with home town favourite Iris Tio Casa and Canada’s Audrey Lamothe, in second and third respectively.
Inui’s superb performance of “Orochi, The Legendary Giant Snake with Eight Heads” was awarded 252.2895 points. Gold medalist Inui expertly used all her different body parts and facial expressions to interpret the beauty and dynamics of the original music composed by Japanese Toshiyuki Matsumoto throughout the very difficult choreography with a declared and executed difficulty of 36.35. Inui was the only competitor to execute her declared difficulty.
Debuting the routine “Sexy” to Beyonce’s “Tribute to Stevie Wonder live”, silver medalist Tio Casa once again showcased her personality and exceptional artistry in the creative choreography full of high difficulty and unusual transitions. With the perfectly executed most difficult hybrid at the very end of the routine, Tio Casa secured her spot on the podium with 219.1000 points. Tio Casa’s choreography and music received attention and was noted by many in Oviedo. Tio Casa explained why she is excited about the routine:
“I tried to put in Beyonce’s flavour. Not just her, but a strong woman with character that’s having fun. I felt this was a super fun and expressive swim. With the new rules and the seven hybrids, this is very difficult. So I really enjoy the parts where I’m out of the water, using my arms and looking at the faces of the judges, convincing them to give good scores. Maybe you don’t see it when I’m competing, but I’m a shy person. For me, this routine is to grow as a person, be more expressive and get me out of my zone of comfort and be better.”
Tio Casas’s Coach, Mayuko Fujiki elaborated on the 'Beyonce-fication' of her athlete's choreography gameplan coming into the Super Final:
"The goal here was to break her comfort zone. We wanted to do something that’s completely different from her character. We picked this music to do just this – break her comfort zone and be a little bit more expressive. She’s studied a lot; she’s watching videos and really looking into Beyonce’s way to dance, then bringing that into the pool for her two-and-a-half-minute performance."
Another first-time routine was presented by the bronze medallist, Rising star Canadian Lamothe. In a beautiful presentation of the new choreography “Roman Gods” Lamothe showed the world that she is ready to compete with the best. After receiving 191.6500 points, Lamothe said: “I’m excited to show my routine with the heightened difficulty that we added since the last competition. As I am getting better, its normal for me to just keep increasing the degree of difficulty at each competition. This allows me to present the new skills that I work on between the competition.
Solo Free Men
At just seventeen years of age, Italy’s Filippo Pelati made a statement by winning his first World Cup medal, a gold, with the difficult and artistically fitting choreography titled “Mental Confusion” swum to music by Alicia Keys. Pelati, the youngest on the podium, was awarded 178.8417 points for his execution of the routine with the highest degree of difficulty in today’s competition.
The significant increases in Pelati’s difficulty scores, Montpellier, 14.9, Somabay, 19.1, to the 26.15 points he was awarded today are an indication of his growth this season, as well as his potential for the future.
Being the unknown competitor and having nothing to lose, Pelati said “I thought only to enjoy myself in today’s competition. I wanted to give all of myself, not holding anything back but give everything I have to everyone watching. I wanted to show all the work I’ve put myself through.”
The youngster afterwards shared where he gets his inspiration:
“Giorgio Minisini, he works all day, nearly non-stop, from Monday through to Sunday. To watch him not only compete but to train is an inspiration.”
Pelati on males in Artistic Swimming: “I’m very happy to be here representing Italy. This competition is proof that artistic swimming is about equality.”
Gustavo Sanchez, representing Colombia, added another medal to his 2023 World Cup medal collection when he scored 152.7521 points to step onto the podium and receive the silver medal. The varied and creative choreography allowed the very expressive Sanchez to interpret the music “The Crucifixion” exceptionally throughout his routine “Passion of Christ."
Spain’s Dennis Gonzalez Boneu was awarded 145.7813 points and the bronze medal for his presentation of “Elements” swum to the song “Aire, Agua y Fuego” by fellow countryman Nolasco. The 2022 Junior World Champion received the highest artistic impression score in the event, 87.9, demonstrating his potential on the senior circuit with excellent pool coverage, beautiful and fast, yet controlled movements and an all-around impressively expressive routine.
Gonzalez Boneu’s Coach Gemma Mengual on the points lost in the execution of three hybrids:
“Today, Dennis has been a bit under the weather. Going into this, we were like, ‘We will see.’ After seeing him swim, I’m happy, we’re all happy. Even without having yet seeing the results, his performance has been strong, very, very passionate and professional.”
Duet Technical Women
Using the energy of the supportive home crowd, Spain’s Iris Tio Casa and Alisa Ozhogina Ozhogin performed their upbeat “Let's play Baseball” routine showing the pride, joy and happiness that the song “Proud Mary” by Ike and Tina Turner produces. The pair was able to interpret the fast music very well to showcase their difficult choreography and claimed the gold medal with 255.4066 points, which included a personal best 30.7 for difficulty. According to Ozhogina Ozhogin, being a relatively new duo added to the excitement of winning the gold: “We’re so happy. We’re new to this, starting to swim together just before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Now, to win gold medals is like a dream that has come true.”
Ozhogina Ozhogin on the theme “Let’s Play Baseball”:
“Japan and baseball inspired routine: It’s true that baseball is really an American sport, but it’s also hugely popular in Japan. With the World Championships being in Fukuoka this year, we do a mix of the American power routine with Tina Turner while also representing the most popular sport in Japan – baseball!”
France’s Anastasia Bayandina and Eve Planeix swum to "Prologue", the song played during the flag exchange between Tokyo and Paris at the end of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. For their fabulous performance of the choreography called “Mother Nature” the French pair improved their difficulty score to 29.3 for a total of 242.4900 points and the silver medal.
European Champions and World Champion silver medalists Ukrainians Maryna and Vladyslava Aleksiiva, claimed the bronze medal with their routine “Royal Blood”. The choreography allowed the Ukrainians to interpret the music exceptionally well with explosive and powerful moves, for which they were awarded 242.0541 points. Contrary to popular belief that twins have an advantage as duet partners, Vladyslava said: “Everybody thinks it helps, but we are so different. We have different movements and areas where we make mistakes”.
Mixed Team Free
The importance of execution and risks involved with the high degrees of difficulty determined the outcome in the Mixed Team Free. The gold medal was won by Israel, who was the only team that was able to execute their declared score of 38.60. The Israeli’s totaled 256.1375 points for “Japan”, inspired by Japanese culture and choreographed to Japanese music. Upon finding out that the team won the gold, Shelly Bobritsky said “Yes, we’re overwhelmed with excitement with how this went. Since the last competition we’ve increased the difficulty significantly. We are very happy that we could swim without any base marks. Now, whatever happens is in the judges’ hands. But we’re happy we could display our power; our choreography was felt.”
Spain won its fourth medal today with the Spanish Junior National team’s performance of “Witches” swum to music from the “Witches” Soundtrack. The young Spanish athletes only received a few deductions, and produced a strong final score of 247.8666 points, good enough for the silver medal. Team member Rocio Calle Garcia expressed their feelings about being at the Super Final: “At the beginning, it was a shock of energy. I think our whole team enjoyed this. I feel we did this with an out-of-body experience because we’ve only trained this new routine for four days here in Oviedo. Of course, it can always be better, but we did it well. It’s a decision of our trainers if we keep this routine for the worlds, but I really hope so.”
Presenting the routine “Boxing” for the first time, the team from Canada, claimed the final medal of the day in Oviedo. Swimming to the music from the movie “Creed”, the team was able to demonstrate quick pattern changes in a creative choreography. The Canadians earned 217.2104 points and the bronze medal, Canada’s third bronze this weekend.
After the swim, Sydney Carroll talked about their performance and the idea behind the theme: “We really love our team. We really like to show our fight. I’m really proud of our team. We really went in with the spirit of giving it our all and fighting for it, just like the theme of our routine. We’re really proud of the fight that we gave. We’re a team that really wants to go for it – and boxing was the best way to portray that.”
Go Behind the Scenes | Athletes' Life Outside the Competition Pool
What's Coming on the Final Day of the Super Final
The live results will be available on the World Aquatics website for this weekend’s competition in Oviedo, Spain:
Sunday, June 4
- 11:00 Women Duet Free and Mixed Duet Free
- 17:00 Acrobatic