Olga Kamardina, FINA Correspondent in Russia

The 15th FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships kicked off today on July, 9 at the Aquatics Palace of Kazan, Russia to come to a close five days later on July, 13.

Competition Day 1 had a pretty tough agenda, featuring Press Conference, Opening Ceremony with the flags parade and two preliminary free routine sessions for duets and teams.

Kirara Oya and Mashiro Yasunaga of Japan performing Preliminary Duet free routine


Media opportunities: Dr.Maglione congratulated Kazan with the successful start

In his opening speech at the Press Conference, FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione congratulated the Organising Committee with the successful start and wished good luck to the young competitors.


“There is no doubts for me, that we are ready for the 15th edition of the FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships, - said FINA President. - Everything goes smoothly and flawlessly. For me it is always a big pleasure to come to Kazan, which has lately become one of the world important centres of the aquatic sports. There is no surprise, we have such a large number of participants in our Championships – 242 swimmers, which represent five continents and 34 countries, and this is very nice to see just one month prior to the Olympic Games in Rio”.

“All participants have arrived and some of them already started to compete in this outstanding venue, - commented on Alexey Vlasenko, Russian Synchronised Swimming Federation acting President. – It was my pleasure to learn, that everyone praises the Aquatic Palace of Kazan, the Organising Committee, and the logistics. Our foreign guests seem to be pretty happy and enjoy all the top quality services they might need”, - he concluded.


In his message to the media, Vladimir Leonov, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sport of the Republic of Tatarstan, expressed his sincere gratitude to FINA for their all-round support in development of sports in the area.

“Just a year ago Kazan hosted the 16th FINA World Championships, and then we had a number of top FINA events staged here. We have some good prospects for the future, meaning opportunities to bring here a number of diving, synchronised swimming, swimming and water polo events both for the juniors and grown-up athletes. We are ready for any challenges which may have come”, - told Vladimir Leonov.

Natalya Mendygalieva,
Russian Junior Team senior coach took her share of media opportunities, saying that the venue is pretty friendly for the synchro swimmers, having “easy water and good lighting”.

“In Russia we say, that at home even the walls can help, - confessed the coach, - so until now everything goes in the right direction”.

Proving the truth of the coach’s preview there came the results of the Duet Preliminary, which opened up the competition programme of Day 1.

Spectator stands at the Aquatics Palace of Kazan


Russian keep on dominating

Veronika Kalinina and Daria Kulagina were a success performing “Capriccio Espagnol” of Rimsky Korsakov. Appearing entirely focused and confident, the juniors performed a complex routine of rare precision and power. Their excellent performance earned them a total of 90.2333 points with 36.1333 points for the artistic impression.

Speaking after the session, Veronika Kalinina said: “Every routine for us is very significant and in our heart we all have an ideal image and we always strive to get better results, trying to get as close as possible to this ideal.”


Veronika Kalinina and Daria Kulagina of Russia performing "Capriccio Espagnol" by Rimsky Korsakov


Kirara Oya/Mashiro Yasunaga of Japan ranked second scoring 88.0333 points, expressing their vision of “Haunted house” to the music of Japanese composer Kawai Kenji. The girls were astonished by the high level of their opponents and noted that “there are a lot of strong swimmers in the competition, and therefore it is not an easy task at all to show one's best seeing so many good performances. To show a good result one should be strong mentally and physically and be very concentrated on your task”.

The Ukrainians Yana Nariezhna and Yelyzaveta Yakhno displayed a beautiful and dynamic “Play of Shadows” and currently are on the 3rd position with 87.5333 points. The programme had the first night at the Championships and was very much approved by the public.

The fourth best were Chinese Yu Feng and Ciyue Wang – 86.8000 points, Andree-Anne Cote and Halle Pratt of Canada came fifth – 85.5000 points. Iberians Sara Saldana/Irene Toledano placed sixth, the young swimmers were brave enough to stand still the sound problems and their performance earned them a total of 84.9667 points.


German Julia Ermakova and Lara Lanninger performing deckwork 


Russia, China and Japan are in the top three

Hosts kept on dominating in the Team Preliminary during the evening session.

Russian Anastasiya Arkhipovskaya, Maya Gurbanberdieva, Veronika Kalinina, Daria Kulagina, Anna Larkina, Mariia Nemchinova, Varvara Subbotina and Karina Tashagadzhieva performed a music mix “Reptiles” programme and were very happy to get pretty high marks – 90.6667 points, with 36.2667 points for artistic impression, and 27.2000 points for difficulty and execution. According to the girls, the programme is very complicated and this is a good challenge for them to showcase their skills.


Team Russia introducing "Reptiles" program


Team China totaled 88.6000 points, divided into 26.3000 on implementation, 35.6000 on artistic impression and 26.7000 on the difficulty. Japan came after with their “Black magic” with 88.5667 points overall, followed by Ukraine and Spain with 87.9333 and 85.8000 points respectively. The other five nations entering the first 10 were Canada, Italy, Greece, USA and Belarus.

According to Anna Vega, coach of the Spanish team, she is but satisfied with the way they did the Preliminary routine, and they will try to work a lot to improve it to the final.

“The music is very rhythmic, and it is the rhythm that helps to perform technical elements, - she added. – Our program is not new, taken after the senior national team, and it is a pleasure for my junior swimmers to have the chance to be a part of it”.

Team Ukraine performing to the "Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky

Anna's colleague from Ukraine Kseniya Titorenko and Olesya Zaitseva were pleased with the way their swimmers completed a very complicated programme.

“We are proud for our juniors to have coped with it pretty well as if it was not of the highest degree of difficulty, - they said. - The program is borrowed from the senior National team of Ukraine, which first presented it at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan”.

Competition results. 15th FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships. Day 1

Duet Preliminary - Free Routine

1. Russia - 90.2333 points, 2. Japan - 88.0333 points, 3. Ukraine - 87.5333 points, 4. China - 86.8000 points, 5. Canada - 85.5000 points, 6. Spain - 84.9667 points, 7. USA - 84.1000 points, 8. Greece - 83.9000 points, 9. Italy - 83.0667 points, 10. France - 82.1667 points, 11. Belarus - 80.1000 points, 12. Switzerland - 79.6333 points, 13. Mexico - 79.1000 points, 14. Netherlands - 78.2000 points, 15. Columbia - 77.4000 points, 16. Slovakia - 76.8667 points, 17. Korea - 76.5667 points, 18. Uzbekistan - 74.7667 points, 19. Hungary 74.4000 points, 20. Turkey - 73.6000 points, 21. Liechtenstein - 73.5667 points, Egypt - 72.7667 points, 23. Israel - 72.3333points, 24. San Marino - 72.2000 points, 25. Germany - 70.5667 points, 26. Chile - 68.6667 points, 27. Macao - 68.2333 points, 28. New Zealand - 65.4333 points, 29. South Africa - 62.4333 points

Team Preliminary - Free Routine

1. Russia - 90.6667 points, 2. China - 88.6000 points, 3. Japan - 88.5667 points, 4. Ukraine - 87.9333 points, 5. Spain - 85.8000 points, 6. Canada - 85.2333 points, 7. Italy - 84.7000 points, 8. Greece - 83.8667 points, 9. USA - 83.2667 points, 10. Belarus - 81.0667 points, 10. Mexico - 81.0667 points, 12. Switzerland - 80.2000 points, 13. Hungary - 75.0667 points, 14. Germany - 72.6000 points, 15. Uzbekistan - 72.3000 points, 16. Egypt - 69.8667 points, 17. Australia - 67.0000 points.