World Trophy 2009: Riding the wave of success to Montreal

Last December in Madrid, the world of synchronised swimming entered into a new era with the introduction of thematic routines at the FINA Synchronised Swimming World Trophy. These routines also allowed participants to perform using accessories and additional equipment – something not permitted at the World Championships or Olympics. This new creative dimension brought added-value to the show and helped seduce spectators, TV viewers and judges. From November 27-29, when the 4th FINA Synchronised Swimming World Trophy 2009 takes place in Montreal (CAN), the innovative trend of this competition will continue. Even more new concepts aimed at improving and promoting the artistic side of synchronised swimming will be introduced, with the aim of boosting the sport’s popularity overall.

Competition format and rules
The 2009 World Trophy includes five different events over three days. On Day 1, a new routine called “Synchro Highlight” will display teams of eight to 12 swimmers performing programmes that include, in the following order: a platform lift, a floating pattern, a cadence action and throw, with music. The thematic duet will also take place on the first day, with music and choreography reflecting the culture of the host country (Canada).

Day 2 will witness the introduction of another new event – a solo routine with a maximum length of two minutes. The day finishes with another thematic team event, but this time the music and choreography will represent the culture of the team’s home country.

For all these first four events, a modification of the synchro rules has been done to exclude penalties for violation of FINA Rule SS 18.2.1 related to deck movement. The rule stipulates that the limit for deck movement is 10 seconds, but World Trophy athletes may exceed this time, leaving room for greater creative expression.

On the third day, the Free Combination event will be held, as well as a show/gala to conclude the competition. This final spectacle is mainly devoted to the fans and viewers, with lighting effects to enhance the performances.

Montreal sets the stage
Montreal, which is the largest city in the French-speaking province of Quebec and the second largest in Canada, will stage the 2010 World Trophy at the Olympic Stadium. This venue welcomed the best swimmers in the world during the 1976 Olympic Games and has a seating capacity of about 2000. Structurally upgraded since 2005, the stadium is a world-class facility where the swimmers will have plenty of access to various pools for training and warming-up/warming-down.

The spokesperson and Event Honorary President of the Organising Committee will be Sylvie Fréchette, a famous synchronised swimmer both within Canada and internationally whose competitive career flourished during the 1980s and 1990s (she won one gold and one silver Olympic medal, as well as two world titles between 1986 and 1996).

The organisers have already expressed their intentions to continue foster and promote the spectacular aspects of the World Trophy, in an effort to boost the general popularity of synchronised swimming. “It is out intention to focus on developing a synchronised swimming show that will be marketable, new to the public and great for television.”

Highlights from Madrid 2008

Spain won the 3rd FINA Synchronised Swimming World Trophy that took place in Madrid (ESP) from December 5-7, 2008. At home, Gemma Mengual and teammates dominated the operations by triumphing in the four events of the competition (Duet Free, Duet Thematic, Team Free and Free Combination). Russia had won the previous two editions of the World Trophy, held in 2006 in Moscow (RUS) and 2007 in Rio de Janeiro (BRA).

Behind Spain, the team of China confirmed its recent evolution, finishing in second place of the overall ranking – this classification is made by totalling the scores of the four events of the Trophy. The Asian squad was also second in every session of the competition, concluding with a final score of 390.666. It was China’s first participation in the World Trophy.

Russia and Japan presented young squads, but proved they will be capable of fighting for the top-positions in the upcoming major competitions (including Montreal). The Russians, without stars Anastasia Ermakova/Anastasia Davydova, finished third overall, while Japan concluded in fourth. The Japanese had been third in 2006 and also fourth in 2007.

Canada and Italy were fifth and sixth respectively, while the two last places of the ranking were occupied by Great Britain (seventh), building-up a team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and Egypt (eighth).