Moscow 2010, Day 2: Spain ahead of Russia, Ukraine third
Day 2 of the FINA Synchronised Swimming World Trophy taking place in Moscow, Russia, was firstly marked by the Solo Exhibition, which featured a selection of the world’s best soloists. For the first time, the event was not judged and the performers included rising stars Risako Mitsui from Japan and Lolita Ananasova from Ukraine as well as Italian diva Beatrice Adelizzi and Russia’s synchronised swimming icon Natalia Ishchenko.
Risako Mitsui (JPN) offered the audience an outstanding performance, in a delightful mix of strength and softness while European bronze medallist Lolita Ananasova (UKR) brought life to the lyrics of “Je t’aime” by Belgian-born singer Lara Fabian, creating an extremely emotional atmosphere.
Beatrice Adelizzi from Italy - credit: Giorgio Scala
Beatrice Adelizzi (ITA), bronze medallist in the Free Solo event at home in last year’s FINA World Championships, impressed the crowd with a dramatic and powerful performance – she was the only one to swim in the World Trophy format, using a ring – on the song “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica. The Italian champion swam with intensity and careful details such as a half-painted dark face and a black-covered leg accentuated her theme.
Finally, a magnificent performance was offered by reigning World champion in the Solo, Natalia Ishchenko (RUS). The audience stood still in admiration for their local hero as she went smoothly through her routine, displaying incredible charisma and unequalled elegance.
Russian icon Natalia Ishchenko - credit: Giorgio Scala
In The Thematic Team event, eight swimmers have between two and three minutes to best represent their own country’s culture with music, accessories and additional equipment. Until the last contestant, Spain, the end of the competition remained unpredictable, as many teams impressed with their original programmes.
But the palm of originality – and eccentricity – for tonight’s performance definitely goes to Spain, who dared something different, not to say revolutionary, in the history of the World Trophy! The Spaniards used a huge floating poster while performing in the water, which contained shapes with one hole through which swimmers appeared and disappeared, accompanied by music and figures reflecting Salvador Dali’s famous surrealist watches. No one had imagined this could be possible, but Spain, once again, proved that artistic creativity knows no limit and it was a total success since the Iberian squad collected a perfect 10 and four 9.9 marks, totalling 98.375 points and winning the event.
Spain’s Andrea Fuentes shares her feelings on winning: “It’s not only the first place, it’s the good sensation of doing a good job.” Regarding the idea of the poster, she confides: “We wanted to do something new and we were stuck with ideas. A week before the competition, our coach [Anna Tarres] came up with the idea of doing this.” On the innovative competition format, Fuentes adds: “We like competing in the World Trophy a lot because we have the opportunity to do something different and to improve the way of doing sport mixed with art. I like it a lot because you create things and you use your brain." She continues: "It’s also because technically we are not as good as the Russians so we try to do the other things better.”
The Spanish team playing with original equipment - credit: Giorgio Scala
Russia finished second with 96.250 points. Fuelled by an enthusiastic crowd, the Russians emerged on the deck wearing typical dancing costumes and made a great impression offering a sample of their culture before entering the water. Already technically unbeatable, the squad also proved their artistic creativity with spectacular movements and acrobatic throws – the Russians had covered their feet to look like red boots, which accentuated their fast-paced leg work. Russia was the only other team to earn a perfect 10, while the remaining marks ranged from 9.5 to 9.8.
Russia’s synchro swimmer Meri Minasyan says: “I enjoy this competition and other teams are very strong." She continues on her team's performance: "I think we are strong but we are young; the teams are all older so we need to work very hard."
It’s another surprise bronze medal for the fresh faces of the event, the Ukrainians, who delighted the crowd with their flashy swimwear, which covered their legs. The squad integrated traditional dance steps throughout their routine, turning the swimming pool into a dancing floor!
The Ukrainian squad entertaining the audience - credit: Giorgio Scala
Although they were inspired by the same theme that led them to victory last year at home, Canada tonight failed to earn a podium spot, settling for fourth with 94.875 points. The North Americans told the story of the American West, with the Cowboys opposing the Indians and much action taking place throughout a sophisticated routine.
The Japanese team surprised everyone when they took in the water eight cones and used it to create huge water fountains. What an original idea! And like their Thematic Duet on Day 1, there was a touch of humour in Japan’s performance, which was appreciated by all.
Despite their well-executed and energetic routine, China finished in sixth place and failed to “play the game” making the most of accessories and creativity.
Dressed up like belly dancers, the Egyptian squad, however, offered a charming performance, displaying many accessories (scarves, drum and bands) and graceful arm movements reflecting their rich culture. Egypt closed the ranking and continues to make considerable progress alongside the world’s best teams.
It looks like the battle for the final podium is going to take place between Spain, winner of the Synchro Highlight Routine on Day 1 and Thematic Team on Day 2, Russia, victorious in the Thematic Duet on Day 1, and Ukraine, who completed the podium twice, in the Thematic Duet and Team. Day 3 will be the final day of the competition with the Combination event.
CANADA: Marie-Lou Morin, Camille Bowness, Geneviève Bélanger, Stéphanie Durocher, Emilia Kopcik, Sandy Elizabeth Gill, Gabrielle Anne Cardinal, Lisa Jennifer Mikelberg
CHINA: Si Jia Lv, Wen Qian Ma, Xue Mei, Jia Ni Dai, Ni Zi Wang, Ying Ying Xiang, Rui Shu Xie, Zhen Zeng
EGYPT: Dalia al Gebali, Shaza Yehia, May Mohamed, Aziza Mahmoud, Yomna Amr, Mariam Yehia, Nour al Afandi, Lamia Mohsen
JAPAN: Risako Mitsui, Yuma Kawai, Kei Marumo, Haruna Onishi, Chihiro Matsumoto, Sae Ishiyama, Arisa Ichikawa, Natsumi Miyazaki
RUSSIA: Karina Albekova, Anna Esavkina, Meri Minasyan, Yulia Potapova, Ksenia Voynova, Anna Kuteynikova, Maria Shurochkina, Vasilisa Mironova
SPAIN: Andrea Fuentes, Ona Carbonell, Thais Henriquez, Alba Cabello, Paula Klamburg, Margalida Crespi, Clara Basiana, Cristina Salvador
UKRAINE: Ganna Khmelnytska, Kseniya Sydorenko, Anna Voloshyna, Kateryna Sadurska, Olga Kondrashova, Olena Grechykhina, Lolita Ananasova, Yuliya Maryanko