The penultimate day of the FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships, taking place at the Aquatic Palace of Kazan, Russia, introduced a number of changes in the existing world’s order for duets and teams.
Like two years ago in Helsinki, Russians dominated all the way through to the final and collected two titles, whereas Japanese, Ukraine and China have all exchanged their positions claiming the podium.
Russian Veronika Kalinina and Daria Kulagina did even better than in the prelims, performing to the music of “Capriccio Espagnol” by Rimsky Korsakov. The duet was overwhelmed with emotions and lit the fire everywhere around the pool. They scored 91.3333 points, one point more, comparing to their first night in Kazan, and totalled 170.7455 points, almost 5 points ahead of the silver medalists.
The major surprise of the day came on Ukraine’s side. Yana Nariezhna and Yelyzaveta Yakhno significantly improved their “Play of Shadows” performance in the final, rewarded by 89.0333 points, which made it possible to push Kirara Oya /Mashiro Yasunaga of Japan one spot down to the third place. The “Haunted house” program, composed by Kawai Kenji, booked the Japanese 89.3000 points in the final and 165.7798 points overall to collect bronze.
Yu Feng and Ciyue Wang, representing China, finished fourth earning 164.1737 points, Iberian Sara Saldana/Irene Toledano and Halle Pratt/Emily Armstrong of Canada came after with 164.1737 and 163.6419 points respectively. Greece ranked 7th at almost 4 points behind – 159.8423, chased by France and Belarus all scored within 0.6000 points interval. Italy ranked 10th, collecting exactly the same 83.0667 points as in the prelims, and totalled 158.3685 points. USA and Netherlands were the two other nations closing down the final’s chart with 157.9839 and 155.4327 points on offer.
Russian Veronika Kalinina and Daria Kulagina performing their Final Free Routine
“It so great we have won today. We are happy, though we shall not give the way to our emotions as we will have the team routine ahead of us. Our opponents are pretty strong, well trained and ambitious. It was not an easy task to win the duet routine, but we believed in ourselves and never ceased working hard, and finally reached this success”.
Yelyzaveta Yakhno, silver medalist of the FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships 2016 (team Ukraine/duet)
“We feel very proud to award silver, as we could not expect such a great success. Having so many strong opponents in front of us, we aimed just to reach the podium, meaning that bronze would be very desirable. This is a great achievement and we are very grateful to our coaches for everything they have been doing for us”.
Kirara Oya, bronze medalist of the FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships 2016 (team Japan/duet)
“We are not satisfied with the way we performed today, as this is definitely not our best and there were some mistakes which we occurred during the routine. We are for the first time at the FINA World Junior Championships, and we will strive to improve on and rank higher the next time. We liked swimming at the Aquatic Palace of Kazan, which was really great”.
Team of Ukraine celebrating bronze medals
Host Russian celebrated their second win of the day in the team’s free routine. Anastasiya Arkhipovskaya, Maya Gurbanberdieva, Veronika Kalinina, Daria Kulagina, Anna Larkina, Mariia Nemchinova, Varvara Subbotina and Karina Tashagadzhieva were all but inspired with the Figure session results, and kept on the right «bright-eyed bushy-tailed» mood for the “Reptiles” program. They scored 91,9333 points, with 36.9333 points on the artistic impression, and 27.5000 on the execution and difficulty. Russian’s total of 170.9999 saw an almost 2 point progress comparing to the previous edition of Helsinki.
The second place was a fantastic competition between China, Japan and Ukraine.
“Terrifying waves” program by Chinese earned them 89.7667 points in the final routine and they easily outscored both their opponents as Japanese received 89.6000, and Ukraine – 89.3333 points. On the other hand, that was not enough to claim podium as overall chart, to sum it up with the Figure session, placed them 4th. They collected 165.5316 points, as Japanese “Black Magic” worked on well, and they received 166.5645 points overall and took silver. Ukraine finished just 0.8841 points behind, celebrating bronze.
No major changes happened in the contest of the teams, ranking 5 to 12. Spain sealed its 5th position, scoring 162.6790, chased by Canada, Italy, Greece, USA, Belarus, Switzerland and Mexico.
With one day to go in Kazan, the medal’s ranking of the 15th FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships sees Russia atop now with 2 gold medals, followed by Ukraine and Japan winning 1 silver and 1 bronze medal each.
Team China at the deck ready to perform "Terrifying waves"
“We are happy with the win, and winning at home has a special taste. Swimming at home is a great honor and a responsibility at the same time. We were aiming this task and it is a real pleasure to know that you have done your job well”.
Sakiko Ajutsu, silver medalist of the FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships 2016 (team Japan/team)
“Silver is not bad at all, and of course, we would love to win gold one day. We have enjoyed the competition very much as there were a lot of strong swimmers. We shall not cease training hard to reach even higher results in the future”.
Veronika Hryshko, bronze medalist of the FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships 2016 (team Ukraine/duet)
“Tears of joy and happiness is what we have now, as we are very proud to award bronze. We all loved our program, staged to the music of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker”, and we were inspired by the atmosphere we were meant to create. Technically the program was difficult, but we stood still”.
Tears of happiness of the team Japan, silver medalist of the 15th FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships