Indianapolis 2010, day 1: Russia, Ukraine and Canada start favourite

Some of the future stars of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil displayed their creativity and athleticism today during the first day of competition at the 12th FINA/eSynchro World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships. The five day competition is being held at the Indiana University Natatorium ( "The Nat") on the campus of IUPUI. This spectacular venue was the site of the 2007 USA Synchronised Swimming’s National Championships where the USA’s 2008 Olympic Team and the 2009 World Championship teams were selected. The 1984, 1988 and the 1996 US Olympic Synchronised Swimming teams were also selected at this venue.

"The Nat” is often referred to as the House of Champions. Huge banners hang from the ceiling with the photos of American swimming heroes including Janet Evans and Matt Biondi along with banners of many other US legends. Painted on the wall behind the diving well are the names of every athlete who qualified for a US Olympic team during their respective US Olympic Trials. Arguably the greatest aquatic venue in American history, "The Nat" has hosted more aquatic national championships and selection events than any other US venue. USA Swimming selected their Olympic teams for the 1984, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games at the “Nat”. USA Diving held their Olympic Trials in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and in 2000.

Competing in Indianapolis are 196 athletes ranging from ages 15 to 18 years old. This is the first time the event is being held in the USA since the 2001 edition was held in Seattle, Washington. The 2008 edition was held in St. Petersburg, Russia, where the host nation was crowned the FINA Junior World Champions.

The first day of FINA Junior competition featured sessions for the preliminaries of the Duet Free Routine and the Team Routine. Athletes are permitted a 10 second routine on the blue deck before they are required to enter the water to complete their respective routines. Each presentation is set to music that ranges from classical symphonies to Broadway themes to rock and roll. The teams from Spain and Canada swam the identical programmes that were originally contested by their nations Olympians in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Seven judges award scores for Artistic Impression in the following areas: choreography, use and interpretation of music and their manner of presentation. Seven other judges evaluate Technical Merit and they award their marks for execution, synchronisation and difficulty.

The preliminaries of the Duet Free Routine competition included 23 duets drawn from the Americas, Asia and Europe. The teams from Russia, Ukraine and Canada emerged in the top three positions following their 3:30 second routines.

All athletes, including reserve athletes will compete in the Figures Competition on Friday, August 13th. The scores of the today’s and Friday’s competitions will be equally weighted and the top 12 teams will advance to the Saturday’s finals in both the Duet and the Team Routine events.

The preliminaries of the Routine Team competition featured 16 national federations each with 8 athletes doing their best to demonstrate an entertaining and perfectly synchronised routine for the 14 judges sitting on either side of the pool during the 4 minute presentation.  

The Russian team was the only squad to score in the 90's. They were followed by Ukraine and China who's teams were second and third in the rankings following today's preliminaries.

This is the first FINA junior world competition for teams from Singapore and also from Argentina. The team from Finland is coached by Iris Lucenius who leads a squad of newcomers into FINA Junior Competition. Finland has not competed in the FINA Junior World Championships since 1991 when the event was contested in Salerno, Italy. “We are very excited to be a part of this competition and to see how other teams are doing in their programmes. We want to see what level we are on worldwide. Our duet scores this morning were not that good. In fact our team swam quite OK today. We need to add more power and strength in our performance and we made a few mistakes in our synchronisation," observed the Finnish head coach.