Lurz (GER) sets the pace in Cancun races
German open water swimming icon Thomas Lurz triumphed in two races in Cancun (MEX), the fourth leg of the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup and third stop of the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix, taking place on April 24 and 26, respectively. Brazilian World champion (25km) Ana Marcela Cunha was the best among women in the first race while Jana Pechavona from Czech Republic took out the second.
Lurz powered home to win in 1h57m16s51 in the 10km race, closely followed by current World champion Spyridon Gianniotis from Greece, who finished in 1h57m16s55. Only a photo finish decided which one of them was the winner. Lurz was declared winner by a judges' decision. The Greek was victorious in the first three stages of the Series. Lurz' best result before Cancun was a second place in Eilat (ISR). Claiming third spot was Italy's Nicola Bolzonello, who clocked 1h57m16s56.
Spain fires in Trieste (ITA) and triumphs over Italy
Trieste (April 22) - Confirming their progress, Spain, indeed the best team in Trieste - in spite of two losses in the Preliminary Round (against Russia and Hungary) - clinched a clear cut victory over Italy in the last match of the Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament. While the Italians appeared out of focus and confused, the Spaniards managed to keep their concentration and motivation, fully deserving the final success.
Russia won over Hungary for the third place 18-13. The Netherlands narrowly beat Greece after extra-times (11-10) to be fifth while Canada crushed Kazakhstan (17-2) to take the seventh place. Italy’s Tania Di Mario was the top scorer of the tournament with 22 goals. Curiously, no Spanish player ranked among the Top Ten scorers. Paradoxically, this is also a sign of strength within the greatly balanced Spanish side.
Last synchro duets decided for London Olympics
London (April 22) - The final day of the FINA Olympic Games Synchronised Swimming Qualification saw the final four places in the Duet fought out with Israel, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary securing their Olympic positions.
The second round in the Duets was focused on the Free routine and the eight entries were fighting for the four top positions. Israel began the competition drawn in first place and put in a strong performance to score an improved Free routine total of 83.780 and finished in first place with a total of 168.580.
The second position went to Switzerland who demonstrated good height and improved synchronicity to score 83.780 and a total of 165.980.
An all-mediterranean final for Spain and Italy
Trieste (April 21) - Following their respective victory against Hungary and Russia, the squads of Spain and Italy will battle for the first place in tomorrow's final of the Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Trieste (ITA). Having successfully reached the quarter finals yesterday, the four teams have met the Olympic target to compete at the London Games this summer. In today's other two matches, Greece was the obvious winner in their clash with Kazakhstan, scoring 21-9 while the Netherlands defeated Canada 16-13.
After yesterday’s decisive quarter-finals, adrenaline was lower on day 6 of the tournament. Some teams seemed to lack motivation. Others, quite simply, did not have much energy left. Whatever the reason, today’s matches were less intense than yesterday’s, with the exception of the last match between Russia and Italy, which was thrilling and exciting until the very end.
Russia, Spain and Japan on synchro team podium, securing London berths
London (April 21) - Russia remained dominant on the penultimate day of competition of the FINA Olympic Games Synchronised Swimming Qualification as they sealed their place in the London Olympic Games.
The medallists Russia, Spain and Japan all secured their positions to compete at the London Olympic Games. Russia took to the water using the same routine that won them gold at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai and looked powerful from their first highlight.
Russian duo wins first synchro gold
London (April 20) - The medals in the Duet were sealed on the third day of competition at the FINA Olympic Games Synchronised Swimming Qualification at the London Aquatics Centre. Russia, Spain and Ukraine excelled in both the Technical and Free routines to secure the medals in the Duet programme.The Russian duet, which features Natalia Ischenko and Svetlana Romashina, performed their Dolls routine, which they presented at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai last year, with high speed and unmatched precision. Ischenko and Romashina scored highly for the height in the boosts and for the near perfect execution of their complex routine.
Hungary, Russia, Spain and Italy march to Olympic temple
Trieste (April 20) - The women's teams of Hungary, Russia, Spain and Italy, each winning their respective quarter final game on Day 6 of the Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Trieste (ITA), successfully booked their ticket to the 2012 London Olympic Games. The four squads will join Australia, China, Great Britain and the United States in the most expected international water polo showdown of the Olympic cycle this summer.
In today's first encounter, Hungary imposed a grueling victory, 18-5, on Kazakhstan, thus being the first to secure the precious Olympic spot. Russia was too good for Canada, whose consistent team managed to lose by one goal (7-6). In a surprising game outcome, World champion Greece (and 2004 Olympic silver medallist) missed their chance to secure a London berth, losing to ever-impressive Spain 9-7. The Olympic dream of another heavy favourite abruptly vanished; that of the Dutch squad, Olympic champions in Beijing. The Netherlands indeed lost their chance to defend their Olympic title in London after a bitter loss to the home squad, Italy, 7-6.
Russia, Spain place 1-2 in Team tech, Japan and Ukraine tie for third
London (April 19) - Day two of the FINA Olympic Games Synchronised Swimming Qualification saw the Russian team prove dominant in the Team Technical routine. After enjoying success on day one of the competition. The Russian team pushed on to an accomplished performance with their Russian dance inspired routine.
Drawn in sixth, the athletes took to the starting platform with confidence and began their routine with their usual precision and impressive technique. They demonstrated their required elements with ease and they finished the routine to a final score of 97.700.
Hungary and the Netherlands top favourites in advance of quarter finals
Trieste (April 19) - Hungary and the Netherlands top their respective group, A and B, after an intense Day 5, the last of the Preliminary Round, at the Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Trieste (ITA). The two European squads advance to the quarter finals as top favourites to secure one of the four remaining Olympic spots and will face different opponents on Day 6: the Magyars will play against Kazakhstan and are assured of a comfortable victory while the Dutch will have a tougher game against host Italy, last of its Group but still an established threat.
In Group B, Kazakhstan and Brazil finished their game on a tie (7-7) while the showdown between Olympic champion Netherlands and World number 1 Greece ended up with a clear victory for the Dutch squad, 13-6. In Group A, the wins were once more very close with Hungary defeating Spain 10-9 and Russia eclipsing locals 15-13.
No lead in Group A, World champion Greece tops Group B
Trieste (April 18) - Action-packed games took place on the fourth day of the Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Trieste (ITA), where world-class teams battle to secure the last four London berths. In Group B, Greece had an easy win over Kazakhstan, whose squad yet produced a solid performance, for a total score of 16-8. This game marked the Greeks' third victory in-a-row, the only squad to do so in this group. In the following match, Canada had little trouble holding at bay Brazil, winning 11-4.
In Group A, victories were much more hard-fought between the four contenders, whose squads considerably heightened the level of competition. Russia faced pressure from Spain, eventually defeating their strong opponent 12-11. The last game of the day between Italy and Hungary saw the home squad defeating the strong contender in a tight 11-9. With one loss and one win each so far, all Group A teams currently have two points, with no leader.
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