After many months of the COVID-19 pandemic, accompanied by a lot of uncertainty, restrictions and self-isolation, the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series is finally back to Kazan (RUS). The three-day event kicks off in the capital of Tatarstan on April 16 and features nine events of the programme.
The upcoming event shall definitely be a benchmark for all the artistic swimming family, alongside that of Budapest, held last week.
«This past year has been difficult for all due to the pandemic", - says Lisa Schott, Chairwoman of the FINA Artistic Swimming Technical Committee.
We are thrilled to be able to welcome our athletes and coaches back to the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series. Leg#2 was held at the Duna Arena in Budapest (HUN), and now we are looking forward to see it in Kazan"
“The athletes are confident in their training," she proceeds. "And we know, they are delighted with the opportunity to perform their routines in advance of Tokyo 2020. It has been a long road back for the athletes and coaches, but they are ready, and this community has been unstoppable throughout the pandemic. We are very proud of them all!”
Kazan will see as many as nine finals, but two will be missing: the Male Solo, which entered the World Series programme for the first season, and the Free Combination.
Competition Day 1 will play out five technical titles for the Teams, Solos and Duets and Mixed Duets.
On Saturday, April, 17, the medal offer includes all free programs. To crown it all, on Sunday, April, 18, the winners will be celebrated in the Highlight Team Routine, and, of course, a cherry on the cake – the Exhibition Gala - is due to take place.
Some 70 international elite artistic swimmers from eight countries are expected to take part in the 2021 Artistic Swimming World Series Leg #3. Many sports legends are among the competitors for this weekend.
Kazan fans are building anticipation to watch the magnificent Russian team in action, headed by the 5-time Olympic champion and 21-time World Championship gold titles holder Svetlana Romashina, as well as 2016 Olympic and 16-time World championship winner Svetlana Kolesnichenko, which, according to the entry, are due to swim the Duet Technical and become a part of the Team Technical routine. Apart from the heavy favourite, competing at home, strong delegations are expected to come from Japan, Spain and Kazakhstan, with a number of fantastic performers in their rosters.
Keep an eye on Yukiko Inui (JPN), which shone bright at 2016 Rio Olympic Games to win Japan 2 bronze medals in the Team and in Duet. An all-round swimmer, she did rather well in the pre-pandemic season: both in groups, Duets and in Solo as she collected two 2019 World championships bronze pieces in Solo Technical and Free routines, and over 20 medals of the World Series, including eight teaming her compatriot Yoshida Megumu.
Emma Garcia and Pau Ribes of Spain will definitely be a center-piece for the Mixed Duets rally. In the absence of Belarus, who just cancelled their trip on short notice, we may rightfully expect some joyful moments from Bulgaria and Serbia - in Solo and in Duet, and Kazakhstan will be pretty competitive performing in almost all events.
Following a good old tradition, the event will be staged at the state-of-the-art Aquatics Palace, located on the bank of the Kazanka river. It is pretty well-known by the aquatic community, first and foremost as a scene of the 16th FINA World Championships in 2015 and 17th World Summer Universiades in 2013.
As per FINA and the Russian anti-covid guidelines, up to 50% spectators will be allowed at the stands, because of the social distancing norms and keeping in mind the interest of the athletes’ health.
All competitors and their coaches will be undergoing COVID-19 tests – on arrival at the hotel, 24 hours prior to their first competitions and at the Aquatics Palace, before leaving for their home destinations. All officials and media will be as well tested. Wearing masks is mandatory and there will be regular temperature checks at the entry points.
The FINA Artistic Swimming World Series is a high-profile competition which offers an annual meeting opportunity for the world’s brightest artistic swimming stars. This year the event kicked-off virtually with the US Open, for the first time ever offering the unique option for the artistic swimming family to compete online and stay tuned with the sport, despite anti-COVID formalities. The first live format was leg#2, staged in Budapest, Hungary, just one busy week to Kazan’s stop. Later the circuit is due to proceed in Canada’s open virtual event and in Alexandroupolis, Greece. The Super Final is scheduled to Barcelona on 11-13 June, 2021.