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

Russia, China, Ukraine and Japan were the favourites for the medals in the Free Duet event this evening at the 18th FINA Artistic Swimming World Championships in Gwangju, Korea.

Russia, the reigning World Champion, has won this event every World Championships since the 2007 Melbourne World Championships when the separation of the Duet event into two separate events was first introduced.

For the past four Championships, starting in 2011 in Shanghai, China has finished on the second step of the podium. In Barcelona at the 2013 World Championships, it was the first, and only, time that the Russian pair, Kolesnichenko and Romashina, swam together as a Duet, when they won the gold. Similarly, the Chinese pair, Huang and Sun, only swam together as a pair once, at the 2015 Kazan World Championships, where they won a silver medal. Today it was the first time that the two duets would compete against each other.

Kolesnichenko and Romashina, winners of the Technical Duet in Gwangju, swam a duet called “Spiders”. The title may have been too simple for the level of difficulty displayed in the routine. The pair moved through the water, with leg sequences and arm movements that resembled spiders, who are known to have a seemingly impossible range of mobility.

Wearing shimmery gold bathing suits decorated with a black spider, their flexibility, strength and execution of the routine was impressive. 

The score received, 97.5000, which would prove difficult to beat, and Svetlana Kolesnichenko and Svetlana Romashina earned another gold medal, the sixth one for Russia in Gwangju.

Chinese Xuechen Huang and Wenyan Sun, performing their routine “Goddesses of Hope”, appeared fearless and full of confidence, hope and trust in each other and in their performance. Impressive were the final 10 seconds of the routine, in which the pair performed a completely synchronized, yet very fast leg sequence.

The score received for their performance, 95.7667, was not good enough for the top spot on the podium, Huang and Sun were awarded the silver medal.

Japan’s Yukiko Inui and Magamu Yoshida, just missing the podium in the Technical Duet event in Gwangju, were first to swim their compelling routine called “Time Leap”.

With great use of the music, the pair demonstrated the awareness of time in relationships. The choreography progressed nicely showing the pair being unaware, becoming frantic and finally connecting with one another. After receiving 93.000 for their performance, Inui and Yoshida could only watch to see if the performance was good enough for the bronze medal.

It was up to the Ukrainian duet, Marta Fiedina and Anastasiya Savchuk to convince the judges with their performance. The pair wore gorgeously decorated suits symbolizing fire and practically made the water sizzle as they as they performed their fast paced “Fire Riders” routine.

Fiedina and Savchuk executed the difficult program spectacularly, receiving 94.1000 points, securing themselves the bronze medal.


Duet free

Svetlana Kolesnichenko, Svetlana Romashina (RUS), gold:

“This program suites us. It’s dynamic, emotional and extremely tricky. We were surprised that we got only 9,5 for the difficulty in the prelims. This is the most complicated program we ever had. 9,8 in the final – that’s what this routine is worth of. And of course we will work hard on the program to improve, to be better at the Olympics. As for now we can say that our vocation has started.”

Tatiana Danchenko, coach (RUS):

“The problem was not in production, not in staging the routine but in perfection the elements. We wanted to follow the image of “Spaun”. That’s why there are many broken lines in hands and legs. We even had to put away some interesting elements in order to keep the synchro factor.”

Xuechen Huang, Wenyan Sun (CHN), silver:

“Before the start of the final session we were thinking only about improving our performance. Our coach said that we gave 100 and 10 percent. We are also excited with our execution. The scores were higher than in preliminary round. The World championship is the major competition of the year. The responsibility is huge. But we are senior athletes. We can control ourselves. We enjoy performing this program. Nevertheless it’s more likely we will change it preparing for the Olympic Games”.

Marta Fiedina (UKR), bronze:

“Ukrainian duet Anna Voloshina and Yelizaveta Yakhno got two bronze medals at the previous edition of the World Championships. This time Anastasiya Savchuk and I also placed third in both technical and free routine. We have already got an Olympic license at the European Cup – the qualification tournament in Saint-Petersburg (RUS). So our main goal is to win authority and to win way to the Olympic podium.”

Anastasiya Savchuk (UKR), bronze:

“We’ve heard the scores of the duet from Japan, who could be our main rivals for the bronze medal. We tried to put this information behind and focus on our performance.”
“This is for the first time we compete together with Marta in duet. It was important to gain experience and get a medal.”