Riccione 2012, Synchronised Swimming: A family affair

Masters

Compositions of pop, rock, soul, classical music blared on the loudspeakers for the five-day synchronised swimming competition of the 14th FINA World Masters Championships in Riccione, Italy. A total 588 competitors performed routines in solo, duet, trio, team and combination. Some travelled a long way to compete on the wonderful Adriatic coast. From Kobe, Japan, 89-year-old Chisako Oishi competed in the 80+ age group, bringing home a gold medal from the solo event. She earned a second gold medal with her daughter Mayumi Araki in the duet (70-79 age group). “I have trained hard up to three times a week for this event”, she said.

Team Caem from Canada also brought the family to Riccione, but at a quite different level. Two of the nine competitors had their young babies with them. “We must organise our training and practice according to the feeding schedule”, Annie Arseneau said. Robert Prevot is coaching the club's three teams that are in Riccione. "I'm responsible for creativity and artistry”, he explained. “And I'm having very busy days here at the championships”, he added.

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Super Final 2012 (Men): Croatia beats Spain to clinch first World League title

World League

KAZAKHSTAN, Almaty (June 17) – Water polo at its prime: Croatia won a thrilling final against Spain in a penalty shootout; eleven rounds were needed to decide the title which finally went to Croatia, for the first time in World League history. Italy came third after a narrow win over USA, the hosts celebrated Kazakhstan‘s best ever placement in any FINA competition as they clinched the fifth position ahead of China, and the Australians found some consolation in their victory against Brazil.

The final day’s action was attended by FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione and Dariga Nazarbayeva, Chairperson of the Social and Development Committee of the Kazakh Parliament, daughter of the country’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The FINA President and Mrs Nazarbayeva presented the gold medals to the victorious Croatian players at the end of the event which was very well organised, thanks to the tremendous efforts by the Kazakh Swimming Federation.

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Super Final 2012 (Men): Spain upsets Italy, meets Croatia in final

World League

KAZAKHSTAN, Almaty (June 16) – World champion Italy couldn’t make it to the final this time: they were pushed aside by Mediterranean arch rivals Spain in a game decided by the penalties. The other semi final saw Croatia coming from behind to beat the U.S., thanks to Sandro Sukno’s hat-trick in the fourth period. For the lower places Kazakhstan scored a bit surprising win over Australia, while China took the upper hand in the last quarter against Brazil.

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Super Final 2012 (Men): Croatia, Italy, Spain and USA advance to semis

World League

KAZAKHSTAN, Almaty (June 15) – Shortly before the quarter final games, a touching event was held as a memorial to the most noted water polo figure in Kazakhstan, Alexander Kryukov (his son, Andriy is member of the FINA Technical Water Polo Committee and is chief organiser of this Super Final event). The legendary player and coach was a key figure of the sport in the Soviet era and also did a tremendous job after Kazakhstan had become an independent state, and was among those who fought wholeheartedly to the recognition and Olympic inclusion of women’s water polo. At the memorial banquet a short documentary was shown and after the film FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu addressed the representatives of the local sporting life and FINA Family.

In the pool, only one game offered the usual excitement: the Australians challenged the Americans towards the end of the game, but the USA proved too strong. Italy and Spain both scored a rather easy victory and will face each other in the semis. Croatia had some tough moments in the first half against the hosts, but the third period was decisive – their semi final against the USA will be a mouthwatering encounter, too.

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Super Final 2012 (Men): Italy and Croatia top respective groups

World League

ITA vs USA - credit: Saken NigmashevKAZAKHSTAN, Almaty (June 14) – The last day of the group stage was opened by a scoring festival, courtesy of Croatia, then came three thrillers offering tremendous excitements – a great way to turn into the knock-out phase. Besides Croatia, Italy clinched the top spot of their respective group after a nailbiter against the U.S. – the Americans settled for the second place here –, Spain came second in the other quartet after bouncing back from 1-4 against Australia. To the sorrow of hundreds, the locals lost their second consecutive penalty shootout, this time to China.

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