Indianapolis 2010, day 5: Russia bags more gold in Solo and Combination

Russia collected two additional gold medals in the finals of the Solo Free Routine and Combination events at the 12th FINA/eSynchro World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships held at “The Nat” on the campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis. The world’s most elite junior synchronised swimmers have been competing in Indianapolis since Wednesday, at "The Nat", the Indiana University Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI.

The Russian federation has swept all of the gold medals in this FINA Junior World Championships, something that they have done a total of five times in the past decade. The Russian juniors have also won 24 European Junior titles.

In the solo event, Russia’s Vlada Chigireva earned the gold medal followed by Lolita Ananasova of Ukraine and Canada’s Emilia Kopcik.  Scores from the solo event were combined with the figure scores which were earned by each swimmer individually on Friday.

Team Russia scored 91.840 points in today's combination event and was joined on the medal podium by the ten person teams from Ukraine and China. The Team Combination Routine was first introduced in the FINA Junior World Championships in 2002 but was not contested again until this year.

The styles of the performances of the top three teams were unique and each very different featuring a wide range of music from classic to contemporary. Ukraine's Combination squad performed to the music of Swan Lake, an artistic masterpiece rendered by the young athletes. Ukrainian coach Olesia Zaitseva spoke of her team's performance in Indianapolis. "Today we saw a very beautiful ballad in the water with a very strong performance.  We were fabulous.  We were technically strong today and maybe with more hard work we will be able to challenge for the gold medal."  Coach Zaitseva made her debut as a head coach and reports that this is Ukraine's best ever Junior World championships earning three silver medals in four events.

Meng Chen, the head coach of the Canadian offered her assessment of the FINA Junior World Championships. "I thought this was a great competition and I am very happy with our results. We collected a bronze medal in each of the Olympic events. In St. Petersburg we won a gold and a silver, so a third medal shows that we are improving all the time. I believe that Canadian athletes are showing our potential to the world. We wanted to contest the Combination event because it is an event in the FINA World Championships and we had an expectation that we would be on the podium."

Canadian bronze medallist Emilia Kopcik offered her own comments about today's performance in the Solo and her participation in the Combination event. "We had a lot of fun today, we had hoped to medal, but most importantly we wanted to enjoy our last day together. We decided to have fun in our routine instead of focusing on the judges, which was something that we could not control.  Kopcik trains at a Canadian Centre of Excellence in Montreal and is four and a half younger than sister Dominique who represented Canada as a member of the Olympic team in Beijing.  "She and her sister are not the same kind of swimmer.  Emilia is tall and powerful and she is very competitive." said Kopcik's coach Lyne Piche. "Emilia was amazing today, she swam a nice powerful performance and she was really strong at the finish.  She ended with a rapid spin on her final figure and I was impressed by how fluid she was today."

The internationally-sanctioned competition featured the Team and Duet events, which are also Olympic disciplines. The Solo requires a swimmer to synchronise a routine to music, while the Combination routine is considered a fan-favorite and incorporates a variety of different routines into one four and a half minute programme.

The biennial event was open to Junior National Teams world-wide and marks the second time the competition has been held in the United States.


Federation        GOLD     SILVER     BRONZE
Russia                  4
China                               1               1
Ukraine                            3
Canada                                             3

Twenty nine nations are slated to compete in the FINA Synchronised Swimming World Cup to be held from September 16th to 19th in Changshu, China.