On the second and final day of the 2022 FINA Artistic Swimming World Series hosted virtually by Canada and the USA, we saw the nations go head-to-head in the Highlight Team routine, with the USA just edging out Canada to take first place in the final event of the day. Both countries can look back on the successful event that saw participation from new and old faces in a variety of events.
Women Free Solo
Day two of the opening 2022 World Series stop opened with the Women Solo Free event. France’s Eve Planeix won the Women Solo Free with an impressive score of 87.4667. Planeix performed to Camille Lellouche’s N’insiste pas, matching the song’s emotion with great intensity and movement throughout her performance.
Japan’s Yula Kawase took second place with a well-deserved score of 84.2667. Performing to a song aptly titled Water, Kawase put together a performative routine on how water reacts and moves.
Swiss junior competitor Emma Grosvenor secured third place with her 77.9667 score. The 19-year-old used her age as inspiration for her routine, depicting how a teenager grows up and gains life experience.
Drawing on equal parts emotion and control, Grosvenor produced a breathtaking performance. Grosvenor is a name to keep in mind for the FINA World Junior Artistic Swimming Championships this August in Montreal (CAN).
Male Solo Free
Up next was the Male Free Solo, where we saw Puerto Rico’s Javier Enrique Ruisanchez Torres Zayas take to the pool again, this time taking first place in 60.2000. With Sam Smith’s Fire on Fire providing the musical soundtrack, Zayas’ routine gave an LGBTQ Rights Movement-inspired performance that seemed to gain more confidence in every movement.
Female Duet Free Routine
Ten duets took to the pool for the Duet Free Routine, with Megumi Field and Natalia Vega taking top honours for the USA with their 84.9000 score. It may have been the duets’ first time competing together, but Field and Vega are no strangers to the international stage and that showed through in today’s performance.
The Korean duet of Yoonsea Hur and Riyoung Lee closely followed in second place with an 84.2000 performance. The duo showed standout skills with intricate leg work, working with especially difficult angles on their spins and when moving blindly through the water without their partner immediately in view.
Completing the closely contested Female Duet Free Routine podium were Marharyta Kiryliuk and Valeria Valasach of the Independent FINA Athletes, scoring 83.733. For Valasach, it was her first competition since suffering a long term injury in 2019. The duet’s beautiful arm sequences while moving from wall to wall to wall as if they were in unison did not show they had only been together for four months. Look for more to come from this duo in the coming competitions.
Mixed Duet Free Routine
The mixed free duet routines highlighted how elegantly the male and female duos can perform in the water – and how different they can be to the female duets.
The Japanese sibling duo Yotaro and Tomoka Sato took second place in 82.7000. The brother and sister pairing performed a story of the Samori, producing an athletic-yet-beautiful routine punctuated with intricate footwork and stunning arm movements.
The Puerto Rician pair of Nicole Adriana Torres Mercado and Javier Enrique Ruisanchez Torres Zayas produced another beautiful routine that showed off their artistry to finish third with their 63.2333 score. The duo showing us yet again a glimpse of what we can expect from them on the international stage in the coming years.
The second-to-last event of the day saw Canada and a team of Independent FINA athletes go head to head in the Team Free routine.
Ultimately, the Canadian team won the event with a score of 84.7000. Canada lived up to their theme of Triumph by pulling off extremely high lifts with good propulsion all over the pool while highlighting the strength and flexibility of each team member.
Unable to produce their own “Victory Story” like their performance theme, the Independent FINA Athletes nonetheless showed outstanding strength on a double lift, as well as a double backflip lift to finish in second place with 83.2333 points.
In the final event of the day, we saw the two host countries go head-to-head for first place in the highlight performance.
The USA came out on top with an 84.6333 score with a cave dweller theme choreographed by Anna Voloshyna. The Americans’ performance included complicated lifts with double backflips and connecting mid-air spins to take top honours.
Canada finished out their performance with a competitive 82.9667. The 2022 World Series opener was the first time performing this choreograph with a team containing many new athletes, and yet they were able to produce a beautiful routine.
The Gala event, always a crowd-pleaser, gave athletes the opportunity to showcase talent and creativity without customary rules. Viewers were treated to several routines in home pools all corners of the globe: from the beaches of Puerto Rico, waterfalls of Jamaica, we walked on water in the USA and even a John Lennon rendition in France.
With the first leg of the 2022 World Series in the books, we will not be long until we see the best of artistic swimming during the second leg of the 2022 FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Paris, France, from 1-3 April 2022.