6 different nations awarded medals in a “technical programs day” kicking off the third leg of the post-COVID edition of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series.
Modern and comfortable Aquatics Palace of Kazan, Russia, after a two years’ gap, finally welcomes back artistic swimmers and plays host for the 3-days tournament, scheduled to finish this Sunday, on 18 April.
The start was highlighted by the Opening Ceremony seeing no Athletes Parade, whereas all spectators at the stands and high officials, which gave welcome addresses in front of them, wore masks and respected social distancing.
Competition program got it launched as a Russian junior star Daria Kirsanova, 16, showed supremacy in the Solo Technical session. In fact, she was the Russia’s main hope, in the absence of the “Lady Cat” Varvara Subbotina, who was forced to withdraw her entry due to an injury on a short notice. However, a daughter of the 3-time Olympic champion Maria Kiseleva seemed to resist the home walls pressure admirably. She did not hesitate to show her best performing a sophisticated program, called “Je suis malade” to the song of Lara Fabian, which beautifully highlighted her elegance. It was definitely not a novice for the Kazan’s public as the able teenager presented it here at least twice: in November 2020 to win the senior championships and this January for the junior ones.
Interesting to note, that every time she swam it, she improved on the total score. FINA ASWS Leg #3 fixed 87.6972, more than in the Russian junior’s battle.
"I was very pleased to get a good score and appreciate the support of the home fans," - noted Daria Kirsanova. – We always strive to improve. During the recent season, we actually experienced a lot of problems, like all the other athletes in the world, due to coronavirus, and that was very special to swim in Kazan for the first time at the Artistic Swimming World Series”.
The silver went to Bulgaria’s Dalia Penkova, which scored 69.4636 points on her spectacular Shakherezada program. According to the athlete, she neither managed to show her best and nor expected winning a medal.
“My last Barracuda element was not done correctly, and this is why one of the judges awarded me zero points, which had an impact on the overall, - Dalia confessed (corr. - on the elements she got 24.3636 points only). – I am happy about the silver medal, but hopefully the next time I check-in the podium, I will get improved in technical terms”.
All the rest participants of the soloists technical final, Tatarstan’s Agnia Tulupova, Viktoria Reichova of the Slovakian club “Synchro Bratislava” and Alzbeta Dufkova, representing SK Neptun of Prague, secured higher results, than the silver medal's hoder, however were awarded separately - as the top three in the club’s competition.
MIXED DUETS TECHNICAL
Prominent Mayya Gurbanberdyeva and Aleksandr Maltsev of Russia were performing to a hard rock song “Bring me to life” by Evanescence. The audience was blown and touched, as the reigning world champions and Super Final-2019 winners produced difficult footwork and impressive high lifts. There were a lot of splashes to mark the whirl-blast of the emotional relationships story, narrated by the duo. They were congratulated accordingly by a great round of applause and rather high marks, 92.4867 points.
“It was a good swim, and I have already congratulated my partner Mayya Gurbanberdyeva on the win, - said Alexander Maltsev. - Technical program is a product of the COVID-19 lockdown, we staged it at a training camp center. We have been learning and excelling all the time. Comparing to Budapest, we have managed to improve by some 0.1 points, which is a lot. We will proceed working hard to earn medals”.
Witch hunters theme was the choice of the silver medalists Emma Garcia & Pau Ribes of Spain (Alina Mantulenko/Mikhail Vasilev of the Russia-2 overtook them, in 86.2774, but according to the rules, were out of the official ASWS ranking).
It all starts at the deck, where she does beautiful magic and flies away. He always follows her, arms shaped a bow, and does his best to resist her charms. Emotional presentation has always been a strong side for the Spanish duo, however, in this case all three marks by the judges did not disappoint the swimmers. Their overall of 85.0703 significantly improved their season’s best earned at Canada’s Open Virtual Challenge, which was 81.6159.
“It was a really good performance for us," - Pau Ribes said. - "This program is very special. It is not new, it was staged last year, and we really enjoyed it. We received a good feedback in general and some very good feelings”.
Karolina Ivanova and Viktor Druzin of Kazakhstan got the bronze in 72.0722. Their program’s theme was symbolic, entitled as “Triumph”, procuring the youngest performers of Kazan’s leg the first ASWS medal in their career.
“I think we did well, we missed some things of course, but we enjoyed the competition”, - shared Victor Druzin, 13. – We are getting reading for the Junior Worlds for the artistic swimmers aged 13 – 15 years old. It felt great to perform for the audience today, because last time we swam it was for a virtual competition”.
The Russian star ladies were solid on Friday at the Duet Technical program in Kazan.
2 legendary Svetlanas - Romashina and Kolesnichenko - predictably came out on top. Their deckwork was absolutely perfect. Their swimsuits were pink and impressive, and their emotional arms spoke louder than words of the popular folk Russian song “Kalinka” interpreted by a popular Russian “Little Big” band. Reigning world and European champions put out a very complicated routine, probably the most difficult one in their career to score amazing 96,1017 points overall (with 29.2000 points on the execution, 29.2000 on the artistic impression and 37.7017 on the elements).
“Competition is the best practice, - commented 5-time Olympic and 21-world champion Svetlana Romashina on another gold piece in her collection. - There is no limit to perfection. Kazan’s leg is a good chance to have a dress rehearsal and have good food for analyses. It has been a while since we competed last. Fun to remember, we had not competed since the World Championships 2019 in Korea!”
Japanese champions Inui Yukiko/Yoshida Megumu are sitting in second, less than three points behind on their feminine Sakura routine, 91.6111, while Serbia placed third on their wild fighting anxiety dances, 77.7153.
“The swim was not bad, and we are very happy to be a part of the in-person competitions, - Yukiko Inui commented. – We had some issues with the lift, so we have to work on that before the next competitions. Kazan is amazing. We like everything here indeed!”
“We feel great here, - agreed Jelena Kontic of Serbia. – We like the atmosphere, we like the public! And, of course, to win bronze is amazing! That’s our second competition of the season, and that’s our personal best! We have been improving all the way for these 5 years now, but still we believe, there is no limit to perfection!”
Competition program of the Day 1 of the Kazan’s leg of the FINA ASWS 2021 completed as Russian and Japanese girls swam their Team Technical routines.
Russia, coached by the uncompromising Tatiana Pokrovskaya, one more time presented to the world their favorite Quadrille program. The team comprised 5 reigning world champions of 2019 and was further reinforced by 2 Svetlanas - Kolesnichenko and Romashina. Swimming at home, the girls were very emotional, and their eventual gold was never questioned.
Interesting to note, that Russian stars almost repeated the overall of the 2019 Worlds. In Kazan they awarded 96,7548 points (29.4000 on the execution, 29.3000 on the artistic impression and 38.0548 – on the elements).
“We are happy to come back competing! In fact, it is the first competition after the pandemic for us, - said Russian coach Tatiana Pokrovskaya. - Of course, we did our utmost to keep up the shape. I got much food for analyses. I congratulate the girls on the win, but all of them know it was no way perfect. There is a big road in ahead of us to the Olympics”, - stated the coach, confirming that it was the very routine her team is going to show in Tokyo-2020.
“Karate-Do” earned Japan a silver, in 91,4460 points overall (with 27.9000 points on the artistic impression, 27.7000 on the execution and 35.8460 on the elements). The swim was well done by a very strong selection of performers, who finished as high as 4th at the recent world championships in Korea.
“The coronavirus pandemic left most artistic swimmers without a pool and without one another, - Yoshida Megumu confessed, - and everyone is and was in the same boat. We should train harder from now on to regain the conditions we had in 2019, if we want to stay competitive for the coming Olympic season, which hopefully will be stage at our homeplace”.
Summary of the Day 1
FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Kazan, staged until April, 18, will proceed tomorrow on April, 17, 2021 with 4 more medals sets on offer - in the Solo, Duet, Mixed duet and Team Free routines.
Competition results. FINA Artistic Swimming World Series 2021. Leg 3.
Day 1 April, 16
- Daria Kirsanova (RUS) 87.6972
- Dalia Penkova (BUL) 69.4636
- Agnia Tulipova (Tatarstan, RUS) 82.7175
- Viktoria Reichova (SK Synchro Bratislava, SVK) 76.1291
- Alzabeta Dufkova (SK Neptun Club, CZE) 71.2886
- Svetlana Romashina/Svetlana Kolesnichenko (RUS) 96.1017
- Megumu Yoshida/Yukiko Inui (JPN) 91.6111
- Nevena Dimitrijevic/Jelena Kontic (SRB) 77.7153
- Dalia Penkova/Kris Kuleva (BUL) 74.1504
- Debora Dvorakova/Nicole Jurakova (CZE) 72.5113
Mixed Duet Technical
- Aleksandr Maltsev/Mayya Gurbanberdyeva (RUS) 92.5174
- Pau Ribes/Emma Garcia (ESP) 85.0703
- Viktor Druzin/Karolina Ivanova (KAZ) 72.0722
- Alina Mantulenko/Mikhail Vasilev (RUS) 86.2774
- RUS (Maryna Goliadkina, Maria Shurochkina, Alexandra Patskevich, Vlada Chigireva, Svetlana Romashina, Svetlana Kolesnichenko, Polina Komar, Alla Shishkina) 96.7548
- JPN (Mayu Tsukamkoto, Juka Fukumura, Megumu Yoshida, Moeka Kljima, Mashiro Yasunaga, Yukiko Inui, Akane Yanagisawa, Okina Kyogoku) 91.4460