The USA’s recently selected Olympic line-up impressed once more, impressively winning the technical and acrobatic event on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

The team faced some challenges earlier in the season while trying to establish a preferred line-up, but they now appear to have found one that can be considered a Paris 2024 podium contender.

The final featured three other nations who will compete in France next month, in the form of Australia, Canada and Mexico, with Team Acrobatic bronze medallists Kazakhstan completing the entry list.

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The USA, performing to their ‘I am water’ theme, attained a combined total of 346.6104 to secure their third success in as many days at the Duna Arena.

“This was a great opportunity to see how our team works in a competition before the Olympics,” USA coach Andrea Fuentes told World Aquatics.

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“It was not our highest DD (degree of difficulty), we went a little lower a little bit for strategy as we really wanted to focus on doing better the execution and fix all the little problems. 

“We wanted to win at a lower difficulty and we’re pleased with how we performed.”

Image Source: Silver medallist Mexico, gold medallist USA and bronze medallist Canada on the Open Team Final podium at the World Aquatics Artistic Swimming World Cup Super Final in Budapest (David Balogh/Getty Images)

Mexico, who placed second in the Team Technical event, demonstrated their ‘Monarch Butterflies’ routine. Their score of 335.6398 earned them a further silver and gave them “a lot of confidence” ahead of the Olympic Games.

Canada, whose artistic impression within their ‘boxing’ themed routine impressed the judges, saw them award them a score of 281.3626 for third.

“We are a really strong team, we really trust each other, we are really super adaptable and we're really proud of what we've done here,” Kenzie Priddell told World Aquatics.

Earlier in the day fans in the Duna Arena witnessed the conclusion of the Solo programme with two highly entertaining Free finals.

Bleyer Brilliance Secures German Maiden Solo Title 

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Diminutive Klara Bleyer has enjoyed an impressive breakout season of solo success with silver medals at the Paris World Cup, European Championships and Super Final Solo Technical event on Friday.

Going up against China’s consistently strong Xu Huiyan – the Tech champion – suggested Bleyer was likely challenging for, at best, the same result.

However, her well-rehearsed Star Wars ‘Mandalorian’ themed routine attained an impressive 246.7417 and moved her into contention for more.

Image Source: Marloes Steenbeek competes in the Woman Solo Technical Final at the World Aquatics Artistic Swimming World Cup Super Final Budapest 2024 (David Balogh/Getty Images)

It saw the 20-year-old go 10.3854 ahead of Dutch rival Marloes Steenbeek, who has impressed in her debut season as a solo artistic swimmer and consistently finished third, typically behind Bleyer, throughout the season.

Xu was the last athlete to tackle the Free Final and showed great composure and artistry throughout her performance.

Most within the excitable crowd at the Duna Arena assumed it would be enough for victory, but judges awarded her a combined score of 242.7250, handing Bleyer a landmark maiden title, by 4.0167 points.

Image Source: Klara Bleyer reacts to the scores with her coach in the Woman Solo Free Final at the World Aquatics Artistic Swimming World Cup Super Final Budapest 2024 (David Balogh/Getty Images)

“After the Technical Solo I was so close to the Chinese swimmer that my coach and I decided to go for a higher difficulty level and it paid off,” Bleyer, who was close to tears on the podium, told World Aquatics.

"During my swim, I was a little confused because I lost my rhythm a little bit. I wasn't sure if I was going to get a base mark or not, but I didn't, so I was very happy about that!"

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Added Bleyer: “It was one of the best seasons I've ever had; it started so early in Doha, where I finished fifth. I need some time to realise what has happened to me this season, but I’m excited about the future.”

Sanchez Secures Men Solo Free Gold

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Earlier, the men were the ones to take the water, with six individuals aiming to round off their seasons with solo success.

Traditionally dominant Spanish star Dennis Gonzalez opted to rest after a busy programme that had seen him claim three gold medals in the previous two days. 

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That presented the rest of the field with an increased chance of pushing for the podium, as well as the ultimate title, and it was the USA’s Kenneth Gaudet who was the first to deliver a score which was of medal-worthy contention.

The 19-year-old, who is coached by the legendary swimmer Bill May, won silver in Friday’s Solo Tech final and again showed beautiful artistry to achieve an overall score of 169.9209.

Fellow teenager Viktor Druzin of Kazakhstan had finished on the podium in the Men Solo Free event at each of the World Cups in 2024, claiming gold at the final leg in Canada.

As expected, he delivered his ‘Aborigine’ themed routine superbly to secure 190.1584 points.

Colombian Gustavo Sanchez—a relative veteran at the age of 23 in this youthful field—was a regular bronze and silver medallist during the 2023 World Cup season.

However, he had made significant breakthroughs in 2024 and was keen to make improvements on his fourth-place finish in the Tech event on Friday. 

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His ‘schizophrenia’ influenced performance was executed with power and precision, with his elements and overall impression clearly impressed the judges, who awarded him a gold-medal-winning score of 190.1584.

"We trained so hard for this, gold was my goal and I got it,” Sanchez told World Aquatics.

“I've been working for more than three years to get here, and it was really hard, but I’m happy with my performances throughout the season, and it’s a great way to end the World Cups.”