On the first day in the Piscina Sant JordI in Barcelona, Spain, the Technical Team event was contested. There were seven teams vying for the three available tickets to Tokyo, and the winners of the three available starting rights in the Team event will automatically also qualify for the Duet event at the Olympic Games. At the end of the first event of the competition in Barcelona, Italy is leading the ranking with a score of 90.7917.
Although the pandemic caused preparations to be tricky and difficult at best, the performances of the Teams from France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Korea, Spain, and the United States were nothing short of remarkable.
All seven countries competed at the last FINA World Championships in Gwangju in 2019, and six of the seven improved their scores: Korea showing the most significant increase of more than three points. Like in Gwangju, Italy received the highest score.
Demonstrating the meaning behind the theme “We Can Be Superheroes”, the Italians opened with a powerful acrobatic movement and continued with much energy and excitement throughout the routine. Scoring 90.7917 for their routine, the other teams have their work cut out for them in the Free routine competition.
The #artisticswimming Olympic Qualification Tournament kicked-off with the Preliminary Phase for the Team Technical format. The top 3 places at the moment are clinched by 1) 🇮🇹 2) 🇪🇸 and 3) 🇬🇷.— FINA (@fina1908) June 10, 2021
Full Results: https://t.co/8RJKvd3Fum#ASWS2021 #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/JwhaTpvQ3Z
Check out the full results.
“We feel good in the water. We are in first place; this is what we worked for. Considering the pandemic, and that we did not participate at Europeans, because I had an ankle sprain and 2 other athletes were sick, this is a good performance. But we have been working for 2 years for better, we want to be better than this.”
Ranking second after the Technical event is host country Spain. Unlike Italy, Spain did not qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and has been on a mission ever since. Before the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the Spaniards participated in three Olympic Games, in 2004 in the Athens Olympic Games, in 2008 in Beijing where they won the silver medal, and in 2012 in the London Olympic Games where they won the bronze medal.
The Spanish swam their routine, “Japon-Flamenco”, to a combination of Flamenco and Japanese music, showing their respect for the Japanese people and their culture. Scoring 90.5506 puts the Spaniards one step closer to the goal of being back as a participant in the Olympic Games.
“The coaches are very happy, so we are very happy. We are ready for tomorrow.”
Considering that the scores of the Technical event will account for fifty percent of the final score, the scores received by the teams from Greece, France and USA are all close enough to be in the running for the available tickets to Tokyo. Greece’s routine, “Cats”, swum to music from Beetle Juice by Danny Elfman, received 87.3990.
Greece is closely followed by France, who received 87.0501 for their “Feel Good” choreography swum to the pop music by Pentatonix. Rounding out the Top 5 today was the Team from the USA. The USA performed their “Butterfly Effect” routine to music by Maasacooramaan for which they received 86.8550.
“I am really proud of our swim, and how we did, I think that the energy was there, it was a beautiful environment to be in, super grateful to be here, especially after everything. All we can do is swim our hearts out and hope for the best and reset for tomorrow and do better.”
The competition in Barcelona will continue Friday afternoon, June 11th at 3:00 pm (GMT+2) with the Free Team event which will determine which 3 countries qualify for the Tokyo Olympics Artistic Swimming Team event.