Xin Zhou, FINA Media Committee member

Canadian artistic swimmers celebrated flying start as Jacqueline Simoneau topped the solo technical and later joined with Claudia Holzner to claim victory in duet technical routine on the first day of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series (CHN) held in Beijing (CHN) on Saturday.

Among three competitors in the solo technical, Simoneau won with 88.3898 points. Oleksandra Burdova of Ukraine took the silver in 84.0224. Halle Pratt of Canada placed third. 

Claudia Holzner/Jacqueline Simoneau won the duet technical in 86.3505, beating French sisters Charlotte and Laura Tremble (83.7728). Oleksandra Burdova/Anna Nosova of Ukraine came third in 82.3876. 

"I was surprised that my dad came to Beijing and watched my competition! He was always supporting me all the way through my career. I was happy that I showed my best performance in front of him and won the gold medal today", Holzner said.

 Simoneau revealed that they usually train about eight hours every day. "We are lucky that we have a Chinese coach who helps us with underwater techniques and one Hungarian coach (Katarzyna Kulesza) who provides additional helpful instructions to us."

In the mixed duet technical event, Russian world champion Mayya Gurbanberdieva/Aleksandr Maltsev dominated with 88.9296, followed by Atsushi Abe/Yumi Adachi of Japan (86.3333) and host swimmers Shi Haoyu/Zhang Yayu, third in 80.7156. 

"It was our third competition this year after the World Series in Kazan and Tokyo. It was difficult to compete three meets. We improved our skills and result each time. We did a better job than we did in the last two legs. We will compete at the European championships in St. Petersburg on May 12 and then in the World Series in Barcelona. We will try to perform our best and defend our title at the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea", Maltsev said.


Abe said he also competed in three legs and he was satisfied with the silver medal but not happy about his performance. 

"I turned into a full-time artistic swimmer and I am no longer a part-time swimmer. I hope I can win a medal in the Worlds this summer", said the 36-year-old Japanese star.

 With famous local songs as the background music and “Chasing Dreams” as the theme, team China showed power and speed in the team technical routine and won the final in 93.0837. Canada finished second in 88.0000 and France got silver in 86.2652. 

"It was our first appearance this year because we just selected a new national team and trained the new routine for three months. We were full of power and enthusiasm whenever we heard that familiar song", said the Chinese captain Sun Wenyan.   

 As the fifth leg of the World Series, the Beijing stop attracted a total of 280 swimmers from 10 countries and eight domestic clubs to compete in the 10-event meet, including technical routines in solo, mixed duet, duet and team, and free routines in solo, mixed duet, duet, team, combination and highlight.