20 nations, representing all continents of the globe, were a part of the Team Technical competition. Comparing to Kazan’s story of 2016, participants number registered increase by 3. It goes without saying, that competitors level, skills and choreography varied very much, so did the choice of music, ranging from jazz to tango, however all were bonded by the strong idea of diligence and commitment to the artistic swimming sport.

“We trained very hard and we came to Budapest to learn, - confessed Italian head coach Rossana Rocci. – Here we have seen a lot of technically and artistically strong nations, representing good European and Asian schools, like Russia, China and Ukraine. It must be very motivating for our junior swimmers to watch these pace-makers live. We got a total of 85.8312, and this is a good achievement for us at the moment, as we are on the way to the higher results”.

Photo: Credit to Joszef Szaka

For the defending champions Russia, the task was different and high, to match ambitions. The 8-athlete squad was fully armed to vie gold. The draw chose them last to exhibit, which was a favor and a punishment at the same time. It was strategically strong to be in the know of the opponents progress, and on the psychological terms – not in the least. Previewing their own impeccable-or-die performance, Russian juniors could not keep tracking Chinese beauties wtih their “Youth and movement”, “California dreaming” by Spain, Scotch dance by Great Britain, and of course, “Avatar” of their main challengers Ukraine. Oksana Pismennaya coached side presented a routine of rare intensity and intense choreography, featuring non-stop transitions, thrusts and busts. They were cashed accordingly by a high overall  of 90.3331 points with 35.8330 - on elements.

It was no way easy for the eventual champions to pull themselves together, but they did that job well. Highly spirited and properly emotional, they gave a tremendous “Samurai” portion. Remember these names: Antonina Bazlova, Milena Maretich, Kira Snisarenko, Sofia Titova, Kristina Tagankina, Arina Zhavoronkova, Kseniia Ladnaia and Elizaveta Minaeva as they have everything to prove rising stars of tomorrow. They showed elegant manner to perform complicated elements, high amplitude, good speed and IQ chemistry in the water, and registered season’s best of 92.7347, divided in 27.9000 on the execution, 28.0000 on impression and 36.8347 on elements.

Photo: Credit to Joszef Szaka

“We did everything as we planned, it felt all good, and we won, - explained the simple winning formula Russian senior coach Natalia Mendygalieva. – We swam last, and it was important for us now not to get focused on the placement, just on how we swim. I love this program, staged by the 3-time Olympic Champion Olga Brusnikina, which is not just complicated, but very spiritual”.

Ukraine and Japan were again the other two medal winning nations. As we have mentioned, the first grabbed another 5th to go silver on their season’s best. Realizing their overall is that big, the junior swimmers and their coach could not keep tears.

“We are overwhelmingly happy as we have done something very remarkable, - explained Ukrainian coach and choreographer Oksana Pismennaya. - It was a clean swim and we have received the best ever marks from the judges, including sky high 9.2 on the artistic impression and 9.1 for the execution. We are a young team, and the average age of my swimmers is but 16 years old, so this silver means a lot for us and our team's spirit. I think, this success is also about the right choice of the music. The idea of our “Avatar” routine was a fight and my swimmers fully inhabited the role of warriors, managing to overcome their agitation and cope with difficult elements”.

Photo: Credit to Joszef Szaka

Japan won another Asian rivalry for the bronze, leaving China abandoned. In fact, the difference between the 3rd place holder and their closest challengers was not overwhelming. China and Spain ended on 88.7030 and 87,1724 points to rank 4th and 5th respectively, followed by Italy, Canada, USA and Greece, which was actually the same composition of the Top 9, like in Kazan, but in a slightly different order.

“The level of teams in Budapest is high, and generally speaking, the junior competition's level has been significantly raising, - comments on the 16th FINA World Junior Artistic Swimming Championships Lisa Schott, FINA Technical Delegate and FINA Artistic Swimming Technical Committee Chairwoman. – It is very beneficial, that a lot of nations entered their teams in the contest, and this is why we have registered big participation figures - 300 athletes. It means, that all these junior swimmers have been training and getting ready for the Junior Worlds, and came here not only to show their skills and get assessed, but to learn experience from other strong nations. This is the best way to learn, to evolve, raise the level and promote our sport worldwide”.

After 3 Competition days in Budapest, the team medals chart sees defending champion Russia on top with 5 gold pieces, chased by another artistic swimming powerhouse Ukraine, resting on 5 silver pieces. Japan and China are so far the only two other nations awarded at the Championships.

Photo: Credit to Joszef Szaka

Competition results. 16th FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships. Day 3

Team Technical Final

1. RUS (Bazlova Anna, Maretich Milena, Snisarenko Kira, Titova Sofia, Ladnaia Kseniia, Minaeva Kristina, Zhavoronkova Arina, R – Gayday Tatiana, R – Nesterova Valeriya) 92.7347

2. UKR (Burdova Oleksandra, Kornieieva Daria, Lykhman Yevheniia, Stulienkova Kateryna, Derevianchenko Olesia, Kulyk Anastasiia, Nosova Anna, Stulienkova Sofiia, R – Fiedina, R – Shylo Valeriia) 90.3331

3. JPN (Fujiwara Mana, Miyauchi Kana, Takano Sakura, Watanabe Yumeno, Hosokawa Asaka, Sato Tomoka, Wada Ami, Yoshida Rie, R - Takai Haruhi, R - Euda Rena) 89.0176

4. CHN (Li Xiuchen, Liu Jinhan, Lyu Rong, Wu Qianxuan, Lin Yanjun, Liu Jintong, Wu Jingyan, Xiang Binxuan, R – Lin Yanhan, R – Meng Xinyue) 88.7030

5. ESP (Arboix Clara, Garcia Paula, Hernandez Mireia, Macias Maria, Bellver Teresa, Gomez Selena, Jimeno Irene, Tio Iris, R - Carreras Oriana, R – Nuno Ana) 87.1724

6. ITA (Brogioli Costanza, Murru Marta, Ruggiero Lucrezia, Sportelli Isotta, Iocoacci Marta, Rocchino Carmen, Savi Aurora, Zunino Francesca, R – Benedetti Veronica, R – Ciardiello Ambra, R – Mastroianni Soia, R - Mastropietro Martina) 85.8312

7. CAN (Armstrong Emily, Czarkowski Jaime, Gauthier Mikaelle, Regnier Jaiden, Barrett Catherine, Finn Scarlett, Hopper Paige, Spott Emma, R – Hoffmann Teah, R – Winkelaar Cassandra) 84.4921

8. USA (Alwan Grace, Elian Yara, Heffernan Hannah, Ramirez Daniella, Remmers Abbygayle, Areizaga Paige, Goot Nicole, Neely Cassandra, Remati Ruby, Tchakmakjian Emmanuella) 82.9434

9. GRE (Dipla Ifgeneia, Kofidi Vasiliki, Koutselini Anastasia, Vasilopolou Georgia, Gkagianni Nefeli Aikaterina, Kourgiantaki Olga, Taxopoulou Anna Maria, Zouzouni Violeta, R – Fanou Evdokia, R – Papageorgiou Nikoleta) 82.1558

10. SUI (Bergonzi Clara, Fahrni Ilona, Helfer Anouk, Peschl Noemi, Thoni Alyssa, Dario Mel, Grosvenor Emma, Mello Paloma, Schupbach Babou, Varesio Margaux) 80.7081

11. MEX (Aguirre Erandi, Barrera Miranda, Estrada Daniela, Meza Trinidad, Arellano Fernanda, Castillo Eileen, Martinez Alexa, Sida Sofia, R – Martinez Andrea) 80.0794

12. GBR (Costello Millicent, Larsen Cerys, Rushton Daisy, Taylor Abigail, Hampson Greta, Lloyd Daniela, Smith Harriette, Usher Victoria, R – Hughes Cerys, R – Thorpe Isabelle) 78.0997

13. BRA (Casale Vitoria, Noriega Clara, Santos Luiza, Soares Julia, Muccuci Laura, Okuyama Maya, Serafini Vitoria, Veloso Anna Giulia, R – Passos Jaddy, R – Serafini Isadora) 76.1073

14. HUN (Apathy Anna, Gacs Boglarka, Hungler Szabina, Szabo Anna Viktoria, David Janka, Gersterkorn Mira, Kassai Dora, Szabo veronka, R – Kassai Kamilla, R – Pentek Lili) 75.1146

15. GER (Artus Delia, Gotting Thora, Rinke Lisa-Sofie, Schwedler Lilith, Dachtler Daniela, Kittinger Lea, Sarnes Pia, Wagner Andrea, R – Bleyer Johanna, R – Gotz Elizabeth) 72.4805

16. EGY (Ali Laila, Elansary Farah, Hiekal Hanna, Sharaf Jayda, Azmy Nora, Fahmy Marwa, Radwan Farida, Tarek Mariem, R - Abdallah Shahd, R -Toson Malak) 71.9835

17. SVK (Bacharova Julia, Iakovlev Anastasia, Lisa Laura, Slezakova Rebecca, Bodikova Zuzana, Kvasnovska Kristina, Novotna Barbora, Suranova Sophia, R - Lengyelova Dina, R - Solymosova Silvia) 70.6369

18. POL (Aleksak Adrianna, Filipiuk Aleksandra, Mikolajczak Julia, Socha Barbara, Damentka Gabriela, Franszczak Wiktoria, Ryciuk Weronika, Socha Katarzyna, R – Sahli Ousini Kamila) 70.2661

19. CRO (Butorac Matea, Kadic Lorena, Palijan Lana, Radovcic Magdalena, Cibenecki Lara, Manojlovic Hana, Pernek Ema, R – Turkovic Katja, Garbajs Anja, R – Juranovic Petra, R – Juranovic Ani) 70.0000

20. TUR (Aktepe Bade, Dicle Sude, Onal Ide Ezgi, Unal Rumeysa Sude, Besiktas Ada Su, Gungor Zeynep Buse, Ozkaya Talya, R - Yazkan Zeynep, R – Ektas Yagmur) 69.5019

Photo: Credit to Joszef Szaka

Competition schedule

Day 4 - July 21, 2018

11:00 Team Free Preliminary

17:00 Mixed Duet Technical Final

18:00 Team Free Final (12)

Day 5 - July 22, 2018

11:00 Free Combination Preliminary

16:00 Mixed Duet Free Final

17:00 Free Combination Final