Maureen Croes, FINA Media Committee Member & Anna Kozina, FINA Media Committee Chairwoman

Russia’s Svetlana Romashina claimed her twentieth World Championship gold medal this evening at the 18th FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea.

In the Free Solo event contested tonight, Svetlana won the title only once before at the 2013 Barcelona World Championships. Tonight, there was never a question about Romashina being the best.

Svetlana’s routine “Carmen” is based upon one of the most popular Opera’s. She swam to music composed by John Bizet, and true to the character of the fiery gypsy Carmen in the Opera, Svetlana swam passionately, intense, powerful, seducing the audience with her smile and facial expressions. Her patterns and leg sequences throughout the routine were beautifully executed. Romashina’s score, 97.1333, raised the bar in Artistic Swimming and was worthy of the gold medal, Russia’s fifth gold medal at these FINA World Championships.

 Svetlana Romashina (RUS), gold, Getty Images: Clive Rose

Spain’s Ona Carbonell, winner of the silver medal in the Technical Solo event earlier this week, in which she expressed a personal message of the power of sport to make the world a better place, brought the audience yet another personal message with her routine themed “Women Rule”, ironically swam to the song “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”. With 94.5667 points, Ona claimed the silver medal, her twenty-third World Championship medal.

Ona Carbonell (ESP), silver, Getty Images: Clive Rose

As was the case earlier this week in the Technical Solo event, the bronze medal in tonight’s Free Solo event would be between Japan’s Yukiko Inui and Ukraine’s Marta Fiedina. First to swim was the talented but young Fiedina, swimming her routine appropriately themed “The Secret of the Future”. Although Fiedina is no longer a secret after her performances during these FINA World Championships, she can easily be classified as the future of Artistic Swimming. Demonstrating great flexibility, power and energy, Marta Fiedina’s performance tonight received 92.5667 points.

Yukiko Inui (JPN), bronze, Getty Images: Clive Rose

Now it was up to Yukiko Inui as her performance would be the deciding factor in the winner of the bronze medal. Inui was mesmerizing as she performed her routine “Undine”. Throughout the routine, Inui told the story magnificently. Starting as a happy nymph who falls in love, to being betrayed and feeling angry, ultimately turning stone cold and hard. The judges awarded Inui 93.2000 points securing the bronze medal.

Marta Fiedina (UKR), 4th place, Getty Images: Clive Rose

Noteworthy must be Jaqueline Simoneau’s routine swum to Freddy Mercury’s “Somebody to Love”. Canada’s Simoneau chose this song as a tribute to her parents, which was evident in the passionate performance, which received 90.7000 points and a fifth-place finish.

QUOTES

Solo free

Svetlana Romashina (RUS), gold: On the choice to compete in free solo:

“Free routine is more emotional than the technical one. You have more space and time for creation and improvisation. And I wanted the emotions to run high and the performance to inflame the audience. That’s why we decided that Svetlana Kolesnichenko who is very good and consistent at technique should execute the technical routine. I took the free programme.” 

On the image of “Carmen”: “It was not an easy thing to find the character and the style. It’s in fashion to choose pop music now. We picked a classical composition on contrary. I have already performed “Marylin Monroe” and “Pretty woman”. “Carmen” was the next step.”

“Carmen” – is femme fatal. When we started working on the image our head coach Tatiana Pokrovskaya told me that I didn’t impress her in this role. But some time later she changed her mind. “Sveta, you can fascinate and then pierce with glance”. After these words I could calm down: I’m doing the right thing.”

Ona Carbonell (ESP), silver: On the routine:

“We wanted to represent two characters in the routine. In the first part to the voice of the women I’m more crazy, more powerful. In the second part to Pavarotti voice I’m an elegant person. This is a new program. We have decided to present something special at the major event in Aquatics.”

On her motivation: “I think I have space to improve. My goal is to become better at every competition. My body and my mind can do more.”

On the evolution of artistic swimming: “All sports disciplines are changing. Artistic swimming was slower back then. We paid attention more on technique, less on physic. Now our sport is very physical. Our coaches try to give us more gym, not only technique. Even the bodies of the swimmer have changed. That’s evolution.” 

Yukiko Inui (JPN), bronze:

“I got two bronze medals for both technical and free solo. I’m so excited. I want to thank all my coaches. I was focused on the solo programs, the main goal was to do my best because we didn’t take the podium in technical duet and team. We finished in forth places. That’s why I think my bronze is important for team Japan. We will practice a lot and we’ll try to claim a medal in team free performance as well.” 

Marta Fiedina (UKR), 4th place:

“That fourth place hurts my feelings. I’m talking not only about myself. It’s disappointing for our country. Our soloist Anna Voloshina worked hard to grab the bronze medal in Budapest. I don’t want to make her efforts useless.”