“We will never surrender!”
Resolved, more than ever. So felt the Spanish squad tonight after the conclusion of the technical programmes for Solo, Duet and Team, with a repeat of the podium Russia-China-Spain in all three events. With the first final of the free routines starting tomorrow, the question excites synchro fans more and more: Is it China or Spain which will be world number-2 after Shanghai? At this stage, here’s what we can say.
Untouchable in all technical routines, Russia has a firm lock on the top spot and seems the less troubled by its main challengers’ recent progress, Spain and China. If the Russians rarely give extended comments about their rivals, they always congratulate them. As for the Russian squad’s routines, truth is that they practically speak for themselves. Perfect synchronisation, breath-taking strength and height in all figures are common indications of their magnificent performance. In the team event tonight, they showed what they do best, scoring a brilliant 98.300 points.
With most-awarded synchro athlete Anastasia Davydova added to the line-up for the team event, and key swimmers Elvira Khasyanova and Maria Gromova, Russia has without a doubt the most experienced team with athletes that have been competing at World Championships and Olympic Games for no less than a decade.
For the future, their strategy is quite straightforward: “Our teammates are very high-level; the most important thing for us is to focus on training and increase our level,” said Anzhelika Timanina.
The team from the host federation finished 1.5 point behind Russia, for a total 96.800. Their technical routine was well-executed, with all required elements skillfully incorporated. The country took their approach of synchronised swimming to a whole new level after the Beijing Olympics, abandoning their vision of classic and “rigid” routines to make them more athletic and innovative.
“In the last months we have developed our routines taking into account the new trends in the discipline: higher, stronger, faster,” Ou Liu said while noticing that the sport’s first idea is based on a sense of beauty. “We don’t underestimate the artistic side of it, but we took example on the Russians to develop our programmes,” she asserted.
Team Technical Podium - Credit: Giorgio Scala
Not far behind China, Spain completed the podium with a score of 96.000. Having occupied the second place for the last two years at all major meets, the third-place finish as a result of China’s rise is an ominous blow to the Spaniards. One thing is sure: “We will never surrender!” said Thais Henriquez.
“After the complete renovation of the team, Shanghai was a real test to our capacity. Our goal was very clear: stay on the podium!” the Iberian athlete continued. She also noted that Spain is much closer to the second place than the fourth, a telling indication on their performance.
Spain has already its eyes on the free routines: “We have a renovated confidence in the free programme: we have invested more on it, we have incorporated a lot of new and different elements and we sincerely believe that we can seriously approach the second place. Also for London, we want to defend the silver from 2008,” Henriquez added.
Spain can still have a go in four of the seven synchro events. Having already proven their ability in the free routines, all chances are on Spain’s side to approach a silver.
Canada again finished at the podium’s door with a score of 94.400. Japan and Ukraine took the fifth and sixth place, respectively.