Artistic swimming capped off a stunning week of sport in the Hungarian capital at the 19th FINA World Championships with the Mixed Duet Free and the Highlight Routine.
The Mixed Duet routines are all very different, but optimally use the differences and strengths of the female and male athletes to create exciting and appealing routines to watch. The breathtaking acrobatic lifts, thrusts and throws in the Highlight routines ensured a spectacular ending to the competition portion of these championships.
Italy scored the most points throughout the week and received the overall winner award. Both China and Ukraine were able to medal in every event they competed in this week. Although Ukraine, with seven total medals, won one more medal than China, China’s results of four gold and two bronze outrank the two gold and five silvers Ukraine achieved. Third in the medal stands is Japan, who is taking home two gold, four silver, and one bronze medal.
Following the last competitive event, all the athletes participated in the Gala event which was fun, relaxing, and showed the friendships and connections the Artistic Swimming community is known for. With the world as unpredictable and fluid today, the presentation on the song “Imagination” by John Lennon had an impact on everyone present in the Hajos Alfred Swimming Complex on Margaret Island. Exhibiting the unity amongst the aquatics, all participants occupied the stage and the pool all at once carrying their nation’s flags.
Mixed Duet Free Final
Swimming with different partners, Italy’s Giorgio Minisini has participated in every edition of the World Championships since the Mixed Duets first appeared on the program in 2015. Minisini won a bronze medal in 2015 and silver medals in 2017 and 2019 in this event. In Budapest, Minisini paired with Lucrezia Ruggiero won a gold medal in the Mixed Duet Technical event earlier this week. Today, with the routine “Risorgimento”, Italian for “Rise Again” swum to the song “Begging” by the Italian rock band Maneskin, the duo scored 90.9667 points to add another gold medal to their collection.
Giorgio Minisini: “We have been swimming together for three years now and we have got to know each other. Thanks to that, we decided to revolutionize the routines to enhance our strengths and correct the weaknesses we have worked so hard on. We have always been better in technique, our free routine was always our Achilles heel before, so breaking this taboo frees us of another block that is perhaps more of a mental thing. This is something I’m very happy about and it represents a new starting point to continue growing and improving. We chose Maneskin's Beggin’ as our music to bring something else from Rome to the world, also in anticipation of the Europeans at home, and above all music that would entertain us. Usually the first sessions with a new music are a nightmare for synchro athletes, but we were happy with the choice right from the first practice.”
Lucrezia Ruggeiro: “It has been the first time for me and it was really important for me to perform well and getting two gold medals means the world to me. I really couldn’t have asked for more, we managed to improve a lot as a team and I still don’t have the words to describe my emotions. I’m really happy for Giorgio, because we are great friends and it’s just great to share all these emotions with him.”
Sibblings Tomoka Sato and Yotaro Sato representing Japan, brought a touch of Japan to Hungary with their routine “Samurai” for which they received 89.7333 points. Swimming to the songs “Taiko Warrior” and “Gion Massive” by Niconi Commons, the pair, competing at their first World Championships, claimed their second silver medal in Budapest.
Sato Tomoka: “We are happy about the silver. In the prelims, we did our best and we got high scored and we wanted to repeat that in the final as well. We just did that so we are very satisfied. The strong sunlight was a bit challenging for us but the Hungarians fans are really fantastic, they helped us a lot.”
Representing China, Haoyu Shi and Yiyao Zhang, swam their choreography to the theme of “Swordsmen” and the song “Wide and Dark Sky” by Chinese composer Yang Bingyin. The duo, who delivered China their first-ever medal in a Mixed Duet event in Budapest, received
88.4000 points to add another bronze medal for China to the medal table.
Shi Hayou: “I think we did a really good job. We really tried our best, for me that’s the most important – and besides, we managed to improve this year.”
Zhang Yiyao: “In my opinion, we had a really good routine and we made the most out of it. I think the trainings are getting better and better and we are improving day by day and I hope we carry on like this.”
Highlight Routine Final
Ukraine, the reigning European and World Champion in this event, demonstrated that they are deserving of that title. Their presentation today is supportive of their country and fellow Ukrainians. With the title “Kharkiv, Favorite City”, the choreography was swum to “Potpourri” by Prime Orchestra, a modern style Ukrainian orchestra. The incredible heights of the jumps and throws throughout the routine resulted in a score of 95.0333 points and the gold medal.
Maryna Aleksiiva: “It’s so special for us to represent our country, and we can show our performances and demonstrate our power. It’s an incredible feeling to stand on the top of the podium after this final because it’s the biggest competition in the season and the past few months it was very hard for us. We had to leave our country and train abroad far away from home, so it’s so emotional and unique feeling winning a gold medal.”
Equaling their results from the 2019 World Championships Italy’s choreography “Dragons” scored 92.2667 points for their fifth medal and first silver in Budapest. The Italians used music from “Flag of our Fathers” to depict the mythological reference that dragons symbolize the difficulties man must overcome to be successful.
“Today we wanted to show to everybody that we’re better than yesterday, and we did it. We’re very excited, but want to do more and want higher scores at the European Championships. This result gives us power for the home Europeans in Rome. Now in this final, our goal was the silver medal, because the Ukraine team is so strong, so the second place is the reality, but we’ll train for a better result and a higher score.”
Spain, also third in 2019, claimed the very last medal available in Budapest to win their first medal. Choosing the powerful heavy metal song “Thunderstruck” from AC/DC to showcase their energetic routine, Spain scored 91.9333 points for the bronze medal.
Meritxell Mas Pujadas: “We can be really happy after this performance, we were fighting for it as a team, it feels amazing. We were only looking out for ourselves, concentrating on our team and routine. We worked really hard since February and it paid off.”