Maureen Croes, FINA Media Committee Member

The second day of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Greensboro, NC, USA saw another 4 exciting events with spectacular performances. Routines from Japan, Canada, Hungary, and Singapore who have been competing in several ASWS are improving, getting cleaner and stronger, and are receiving higher scores, but the routines of debutants USA, Colombia and Argentina are making statements and show great promise for the 2019 Artistic Swimming season.

First event on the programme was the Technical Duet. Japan continued its dominance of these series, easily winning the gold medal with a 91.1045 score. For Yukiko Inui and Megumu Yoshida this was their first gold medal in this event, they had won 2 silver medals in previous ASWS. Canada’s Claudia Holzner and Jacqueline Simoneau were able to add a silver to their collection of medals in this event, with an 88.6425, the pair now own one of each colour. Their performance today received their best score in the ASWS yet.

“Score wise we don’t really focus on that as athletes, but on performance. Just from feeling how this performance went, I think we can still refine certain movements, and that will make the execution mark even higher.”

The bronze medal in the technical duet went to USA’s Anita Alvarez and Ruby Kathryn Remati with an 85.8815. This was the first time that Alvarez and Remati swam this routine in competition.

“This is the first time we are showing the choreography and we are really happy with how we started the season, and we can only go up from here. The purpose of this routine is to have a contrast between the slow moments and the sharp powerful moments, which you can really hear in the singers’ voice and we wanted to express that in the water.”

In the Mixed Technical Duet event USA’s Bill May and Natalia Vega made their first appearance in the ASWS. Nonetheless, they made their presence known by winning the gold with 87.6687. The music the pair chose was a combination of American Hip Hop and international pop, making it a very upbeat and dynamic routine. With a 65.4532, Kazakhstan’s Aigerim Issayeva and Olzhas Makhanbetiyarov won their first medal, a silver, in the ASWS.

Japan’s Yukiko Inui continued here gold streak in the Solo Free event, she swam a beautiful routine inspired by Undine, a fairy tale about water spirits. With a 93.7583, Yukiko claimed her 3rd gold medal in this event for the ASWS. Canada’s Jacqueline Simoneau, improving again on previous ASWS appearances received 90.5083 for her routine. The bronze medal, with a score of 76.3000 went to first time participant Camila Maria Arregui from Argentina. This is Argentina’s first medal in the ASWS. Arregui swam to the song “The winner takes it all” from the movie Mama Mia.

“I am happy, we were looking for this kind of score, obviously we have to work harder, but in this time of the year, when we are training hard in preparation for the World Championships, this is great.”

The excitement was building in the Greensboro Aquatic Centre for the final event of the evening, and it did not disappoint. Japan, with 92.2833, won the gold medal swimming a routine inspired by the famous Matsuri Festival in Japan. Very successfully, in front of their home crowd, the USA showcased the much talked about free routine to the world. The USA claimed the silver medal by receiving an 87.9333 for their daring and risky routine.

“I want to show to the world that I want to do a big change, I don’t want the USA to do a good job, I want this team to make history. The Free routine is a big challenge, we will do, I think, the most difficult lift in the history of Synchro. This lift has never been done; it is a huge risk.”

With a routine inspired by the fight to get ahead, Colombia added to their tally of medals by scoring 79.2583 to win their 3rd bronze medal of this ASWS.

“The theme signifies the challenge we face to return to the level we had before, but we know we can and we are ready to face the challenge”

After 2 days the medal count is as follows:
Japan           6 Gold
USA             1 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
Canada                    4 Silver
Kazakhstan              1 Silver
Colombia                              3 Bronze
Argentina                              1 Bronze

Leg 6 of the ASWS will conclude Sunday May 26th with the Highlight and Combo events, followed by the much-anticipated Gala event.