On the first day of competition virtual host Australia produced an exciting broadcast which saw the five Technical Routines, Female and Male Solo, Duet, Mixed Duet, and Team, as well as the exciting Highlight events contested. The very creative community of Artistic Swimming, unlike any other sport, has embraced and developed the virtual format to gain valuable competition experience and give increased exposure to the athletes and the sport. This is the first ever FINA ASWS hosted by Australia, and the 127 athletes representing twenty-two countries and five Continents validates that the virtual format, born out of a necessity during the pandemic, has opened doors for participation as well as hosting opportunities.
In the first event, the Technical Male Solo, Spain’s Fernando Diaz del Rio Soto scored 74.2865 to claim the gold medal. The choreography, swum to the song “Dream on” by Aerosmith, allowed Diaz del Rio Soto to demonstrate his strengths beautifully. Making his debut in the Technical Solo event at an ASWS, Eduard Kim, representing Kazakhstan, was awarded 69.8678 points for the silver medal. Puerto Rican Javier Enrique Ruisanchez received 57.9860 points to add another bronze medal to his collection of ASWS medals.
In the Technical Female Solo event seventeen athletes competed for a spot on the podium. Vasiliki Alexandri, one of the triplet sisters from Austria, choreographed her own routine “Live Life for the Moment”. Alexandri’s performance received 84.1776 points for the gold medal. The silver medal was won by the youngest member of the Canadian team Audrey Lamothe. Swimming to “Cry me a River” by fellow Canadian Michael Bublé, Lamothe was awarded 83.0599 points. Closing out the podium was Japan’s Itsuki Hirota, who earned 82.7571 points and the bronze medal for her “Mother Monster” themed choreography.
There were seventeen pairs scheduled to compete in the next event on the program, the Technical Duet. Equaling their sister’s Vasiliki accomplishment in the Solo event, Austria’s Anna-Maria and Eirini Alexandri scored 87.8449 for “Warriors” to win the gold medal. After winning the bronze medal in Paris last month, Shelly Bobritsky and Ariel Nassee, representing Israel, moved up one step on the podium to the second spot with 82.6422 points. Performing their “Belly dance” routine, Japan’s Airi Kawaguchi and Uta Kobayashi were awarded 81.7360 points to claim the bronze medal.
The growth and development of Artistic Swimming can also be seen by the increase of participants int the Technical Mixed Duet event. In this virtual event there were seven duets, including first-time participants from Belgium, Renaud Barral and Lisa Ingenito. Siblings Yotaro & Tomoka Sato from Japan received top honors for their performance of the animal and jungle inspired choreography. The pair scored 83.5156 points and is set to represent Japan at this summer’s FINA World Championships in Budapest. Spain’s Emma Garcia and Pau Ribes continued to show their dominance in the Mixed Duet events, receiving 82.8584 points for the silver medal for their “Hansel and Gretel” inspired routine “Witch Hunters”. In a close race between four Junior athletes, Kazakhstan’s Eduard Kim and Zhaklin Yakimova edged out USA’s Ivy Davis and Kenneth Gaudet, 78.8609 to 78.6820 to claim the last spot on the podium.
In the Technical Team event, four teams competed for the three medals. The teams from the USA, Canada and Israel repeated their finish from the second leg of the ASWS in Paris in April. Team USA’s brand-new choreography inspired by Michael Jackson scored 84.8199 points for the gold. Team Canada’s Hip-Hop & Rap routine followed in second place with 83.5067 points. Israel closed out the podium by scoring 81.5018 points.
Closing out the events on the first day was the exciting and often breathtaking Highlight Routine Free event, showcasing a combination of the artistic details and the powerful acrobatic movements that the sport of Artistic Swimming is known for. The USA, undefeated in the 2022 season in the Highlight Routine event, won their second gold medal in Australia with a score of 87.8000 for their entertaining, creative, and expressive “Cave People” routine. As was the case at the first and second leg of the 2022 ASWS, the silver medal was won by Canada, who received 85.4000 points for the routine themed “Galaxy”. The routine performed by the team from Kazakhstan won the bronze medal with 80.4000 points.