The sport’s powerhouse Russia scored another 3 golds, showing promising juniors in 3 out of 4 events. Japanese Yukiko Inui/Yoshida Megumu were rather solid in Women Duet Free to add gold to the silver they earned yesterday, and the Mixed Duet Free was a jewel of the day, seeing a selection of fine competition programs, performed by 5 pairs.  

Read on to learn how the events unfolded.


Daria Kirsanova of Russia collected her 2nd gold of the World Series in her favorite Solo Free Routine. There is no disputing that she presented her brand new program beautifully, interpreting a witch’s story with an appropriately serious mien and elegance. It took the young soloist 2 and a half minutes to express a full range of emotions, doing magic, speaking to the nature and ghosts, and finally being caught and executed.

Daria, who turned 16 last August, also landed the most difficult combination of the 7 competitors. The coach of the Russian champion confessed, she managed to improve on her winning overall, finishing in 90.7000.

"Usually I do not pay much attention to points, because the judging panels are always different, - noted 3-time Olympic champion and mother of Daria Kirsanova, Maria Kiseleva, - I can say, that we are sat with the performance in Kazan – both in the technical and in the solo routine. There was a long gap in the competition calendar, so we are happy to be back. We have good food for analyses, and we will have a few days to fix the issues before the Russian Championships, which is due to start a few days after the World Series”.

Sofia Dzipkovic of Serbia, 17, registered her first podium presence in Kazan, showcasing “Perseverance” program. The idea was to show how to achieve goals, despite obstacles, and it was also true for the swim in general. She stood up waiting in the kiss and cry corner in good spirits. Her smile dissipated as the score came across, 76.9000, though places 3rd and 2nd were separated by just 0,6667 points.

“This is my first international senior competition, - confessed Sofia Dzipkovic. – I am happy to finish on the second place, but I see now how much work remains to be done. It was ne program for me, so it was important to see if I go the right direction”.

Kris Kuleva of Bulgaria, 17, finished on the third place, posting in Kazan her personal best,76.2333. She presented to the world her new routine, singing “It’s a man’s man’s man’s world”.

“I am happy with my performance,” - commented on the bronze Kris Kuleva. – My coach is happy as well, what is even more important for me. It is my first international senior competition, it’s my debut at the World Series, so to win a medal there is exceeding my expectations".

Agnia Tulupova of Tatarstan headed the out of ranking contest in 85.6333. Viktoria Reichova, representing Slovakia Bratislava, awarded 79.1000 points, followed by two Czech club athletes  Alzabeta Dufkova, 77.6333, and Adela Janska, 69.7333


Russian headliners completed their Mixed Duet Free routine and coach Gana Maximova thrust her fists into the air not once but twice as Aleksandr Maltsev and Olesya Platonova took their bows in Kazan Wednesday night.

“That’s good,” she offered minutes later, in the kiss and cry corner, appreciating the season’s best overall of 94.1333, split into 28.2000 on the execution and difficulty, and 37.7333 on the artistic impression. The program was very different to the Technical portion, which Aleksandr Maltsev presented yesterday teaming Mayya Gurbanberdyeva. It ran to Stravinsky “Rite of Spring”. The ballet was first staged during the Russian seasons by Vatszlav Nezhinsy, and was later redone a number of times by various choreographers.

“The first night of the program should have happened much earlier, - explained Aleksandr Maltsev to the media. – It was quite ready by the 2019 FINA Worlds, but we changed our mind on a short notice and presented there a “Sing, Sing, Sing” portion. Then the lockdown happened, and we were supposed to transfer the “Rite of Spring” to 2021”.

“The ballet we draw inspiration was a sort of avant garde and very unexpected. We meant to keep this characteristics in our program. The choreography is very modern, non-standard, many compliments to our coach and choreographer Gana Maximova, - added Aleksandr Maltsev.

The 2021 US Virtual Challenge winners Pau Ribes/Emma Garcia of Spain booked another silver of the Kazan’s leg in 87.1333 points.

They presented their emotional Cats Program, where creative choreography highlighted beautiful interaction between the partners. All elements were performed in a rather high tempo, though on the halfway they came across asynchronization issues. On the other hand, a number of sophisticated thrusts which imitated the cats movements, definitely added to the overall impression.

“Competition makes us stronger. Silver is not gold, but we are happy to be able to compete in an in-person tournament and see with our own eyes what opponents are doing, and see judges, and realize what they think of our routines, - said Pau Ribes of Spain. - We have managed to significantly improve on the overall, comparing to the first leg of the ASWS 2021. There were some changes both in the technical composition and in music”.

Reigning world junior champions (J-13-J15) Eduard Kim and Zhaklin Yakimova from Kazakhstan, got the bronze in 81.4000.

“We wanted something that felt a little bit more modern, a little bit more us, powerful and merry, so we ended up with the Love story by OST ft. Aladin”, - narrated Eduard Kim after the bronze swim. It was very interesting to compete in Kazan. We gained a lot of experience”.

“There is so much job to be done this year, - Kazakhstan’s coach Ilya Kotov proceeded. – It is not an easy task to return competing after a year’s gap. Of course, all of us are professionals, and we did our best training at home. But it was very hard indeed”.

Like the day before, Russia-2 presented by Mikhail Vasilev and Alina Mantulenko, won the club’s competition, in 88,1627 points, some 14 points ahead of Victor Druzin and Karolina Ivanova of Kazakhstan-2, 74.000.


It happened so, that the Duet Free final of the Kazan’s Leg of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series had a surprise in store for the Russian fans.

Japan swam second, ahead of all their main challengers. In spite of this, Yukiko Inui and Yoshida Megumu gave a commanding performance with their strong “Evolution” program. Dancing robots, which are designed to become humans, they displayed a good height and clean lines, all in perfect synchro, and earned a solid 93.0000 to book a quality medal somewhere at the top, of the gold color, as it turned out later.

“It’s a funny program. We are joking, that we are all Androids S. We truly enjoyed swimming, - the winners confessed. – It’s a pleasure to see spectators at the stands. Not so many, but to have up to 50 % is much better than nothing. It’s very difficult to swim for yourself. It for the first time we are in Kazan, but we love the facility very much indeed”.

A new Russian duo Violetta Evenko/Elizaveta Minaeva performed the last, keeping Japanese in the air till the very end. They presented a hip hope story to the music of the “Black eyed peas”.  The duo has been training together for half a year only, coached by  Natalia Mendygalieva and Daria Aleksandrova. The routine was very new, first presented to the public at the Russian Championships in Kazan, this January. According to the coach, the winning total did not improve the one, registered there before, scoring 92.6000. It was only enough to seal silver.

“It was neither our best swim nor the best total, - Elizaveta Minaeva of Russia said, - We are definitely satisfied on awarding silver, as we only lost to a very experienced Japanese duo. For us it is a big experience and great practice”.

Another bronze, second to go, came to Jelena Kontic/Nevena Dimitrijevic of Serbia through their Sea Monsters program, 78.9667. They narrowly edged out Bulgaria’s Kris Penkova who teamed Daria Kulagina for the Duet Free, 75,2667.

“Our free portion is very interesting, - commented Nevena Dimitrijevic. – Our main task was to show emotions to the world, sometimes pleasure and joy, sometimes horror as we were imitating sea monsters. We tried to do our best here in Kazan, and we are happy to bring back home 2 bronze medals as a duo”.


Russian junior team narrowly won gold in the Team Free session. It was a difficult task indeed. Swimming the last immediately after their main challengers, Ekaterina Kossova, Elizaveta Minaeva, Violetta Evenko, Alena Bakai, Anna Sokolova, Diana Mirgazizova, Anastasiya Bakhtyreva and Daria Dzidziguri managed to keep their nerves dancing. In fact, their resurrection dance admired everyone in the Aquatics Palace of Kazan. The program was staged by Anastasiya Davydova and Yulia Metieva. There was passion and power, there were tender movements and difficult lifts, and links at a good height. They received overall, 93.4667, edging out Japan by 0.3 points.

“This is about chemistry in the team, - commented on the result coach Natalia Mendygalieva of Russia. – It is a perfect blend, as we believe. There are a number of 2019 Junior World champions in the line-up, and the rest of the field is just entered the Russian junior squad, but all of them are able, gifted and very hard-working. Keep an eye on them, so there are definitely future Olympic hopes”.

Japan ranked second in points, 93.1667.

Inui Yukiko and Yoshida Megumu joined their compatriots Fukumura Juka,  Yasunaga Mashiro, Tsukamoto Mayu, Kyogoku Okina, Kljima Moeka and Yanagisawa Akane for the Team Free portion. Like all the rest routines in Kazan, they touched on the digital paradigma. The girls swam to narrate the story of the upbeat folk rhythm, deseigned by Matsuri Bayashi and Tokio Ondo, through twitter, encouraging everyone to get dancing.  

Team of Kazakhstan landed bronze in points, 81.6333.

Swimming to Moana music, staged by Nailya Baimurzina, they did their job fairly well. The routine was not faultless: something missed something hit, which was reflected in the score, 81.9000, split in 25.0000 on the difficulty, 25.1000 on the execution and 32.8000 on the artistic impression.

“We are thrilled being in such a big competition, - confessed Kazakhstan’s coach Nailya Baimurzina. – We trained very hard and now we are able to see our weak points. Of course we saw the strong points of Russia, which are outspoken favorites, but we are young and we learn, and we are striving to improve”.

Summary of the Day 2

The 2021 edition of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series comes to a close on Sunday, April, 18. The ultimate Competition Day #3 will distribute the last but not the least set of medals in the Team Highlight routine.

One day to go to the finish, Russia boasts most of the medal pieces played out as they swept away 7 golds on offer. They are followed by Japan, residing on 1 gold and 3 silver medals. The other medal awarding nations in Kazan are so far Spain, Kazakhstan, Serbia and Bulgaria.

Competition results. FINA Artistic Swimming World Series 2021. Competition Day 2

SOLO FREE 1.Daria Kirsanova (RUS) 90.7000 2. Sofija Dzipkovic (SRB) 76.9000  3.Kris Kuleva (BUL) 76.2333

Clubs  Agnia Tulupova (RUS) 85.6333 2. Viktoria Reichova (SVK) 79.1000 3.Alzabeta Dufkova (CZE) 77.6333 3.Adela Janska (CZE) 69.7333

MIXED DUET FREE  1.Aleksandr Maltsev / Olesia Platonova (RUS) 94.1333 2.Pau Ribes / Emma Garcia (ESP) 87.1333 3.Eduard Kim / Zhaklin Yakimova (KAZ) 81.4000

Clubs  Alina Mantulenko / Mikhail Vasilev (RUS) 88,1627 2.Viktor Druzin / Karolina Ivanova (KAZ) 74.8000

DUET FREE  1.Megumu Yoshida / Yukiko Inui (JPN) 93.0000   2.Violetta Evenko /Elizaveta Minaeva (RUS) 92.6000 3. Nevena Dmitrijevic /Jelena Kontic (SRB)  78.9667   4. Dalia Penkova / Kris Kuleva (BUL) 75.2667

Clubs  1.Debora Dvorakova / Nicole Juracova (CZE) 74.7000


1.RUS (Daria Dzidziguri, Ekaterina Kossova, Anna Sokolova, Alena Bakai, Violetta Evenko, Elizaveta Minaeva, Anastasiia Bakhtureva, Diana Mirgazizova, Nadezhda Demidova, Svetlana Ogorodnikova) 93.4667

2.JPN (Mayu Tsukamoto, Juka Fukumura, Megumu Yoshida, Moeka Kijima, Mashiro Yasunaga, Yukiko Inui, Akane Yanagisawa, Okina Kyogoku, Tomoka Sato) 93.1667

3.KAZ (Nargiza Bolatova, Arina Myasnikova, Yekaterina Simonova, Anna Pavletsova, Aigerim Kurmangaliyeva, Xeniya Makarova, Zhaniya Zhiyengazy, Eteri Kakutia, Yelena Krylova, Karina Abdullina) 81.9000

Clubs   1.Tatarstan (Ekaterina Zholobova, Karina Saveleva, Violetta Trosnina, Elizaveta Tusheva, Viktoria Khorosh, Snezhana Petrova, Olga Ryzhova, Kseniia Gruzdeva, Agnia Tulupova) 81.6333