Olga Kamardina, FINA Correspondent in Samorin

A historic moment is finally on us. The 1st FINA World Youth Artistic Swimming Championships is officially opened today at the state of the art X-Bionic Arena of the Slovakian Olympic Training Center, to come to a close 5 days later on September, 1.

Previewing the start, FINA Artistic Swimming Technical Committee Chairwoman praised the organisers on the preparations taken, Slovak star Nada Daabousova speculated on the favorites in the game and a cherry on the cake Spanish swimming celebrity Ona Carbonell shared her take on the motivation sessions.

Read on to learn the details of the events unfolded.

Role-model talk to inspire

A role model talk to inspire participants of the first ever FINA World Youth Artistic Swimming Championships took place on the arrival day of the competition. On the evening of 26 August, a spacious “Victory room”, counted for 300 seats, was sold-out, proving that FINA Artistic Swimming Technical Committee Chairwoman Lisa Schott and her intuition were again absolutely shrewd. Ona Carbonell shone bright, talking to the agitated crowd. A big artistic swimming star showed herself as an able motivation speaker and at the same time she was warm and friendly, and even looked happy, signing cards and making numerous selfies with her young fans.

“There was no real doubt for me whether I should accept the invitation to go to Samorin or not. I have got a little break after the FINA World Championships in Korea, so it was my ultimate pleasure to rejoin the aquatic family and meet contestants of the first ever FINA Youth Worlds., - tells 2-time Olympic medalist, world and European champion of Spain. – FINA Youth Artistic Swimming Worlds is a new page in our sport’s history, the brick we had been missing, and now so that we are on the threshold of its start, I am happy to be a part of the action”.

“I am so happy to see such a good number of young and rising athletes inspired by my sport. It is incredibly important to share knowledge of the sport, which I have. My audience was very very rewarding, - adds Ona with a smile. – All we are in love with the artistic swimming, and irrelevant of the native language we speak, we understand each other very well. During the Q&A session II have received a number of various questions – from what I eat in the morning to rather serious puzzles for their age - how to overcome difficulties and injuries. This is vital and fundamental. I have also been 14 years old, and I very well know, that young swimmers are thirsty for role models, and they should be able to see that those role models are human-beings, not robots, and all their achievements are reached by the labor, devotion and inspiration”.

Water & lights opening show with 2 world famous soloists starring

An inspirational common thread was visibly running through the Technical Team Managers and Judges Meetings on 27 August, forming up the main message of the Opening Ceremony of the 1st FINA World Youth Artistic Swimming Championships. The official kick-off was decorated by the “water and lights show” with Ona Carbonell and Nada Daabousova playing major parts.

Photo credit to Peter Sukenik, LOC

Mermaid of Barcelona Ona Carbonell swam solo, the very famous outstanding Nelson Mandela technical routine of the 2019 FINA World Championships in Korea. Home star Nada Daabousova was a part of an energetic evolution-theme show. Starting as a soloist, she was soon joined by her 2 years duet partner Diana Miskechova and a group of young Slovak swimmers. The performance was backed by inspirational music and a black-and-white documentary clip, specially created for the occasion to better illustrate the positive insight and hopeful look into the future of the sport. Then the culmination of the Opening ceremony came as competition officials gave welcome address in front of the Athletes Parade, and declared the 1st FINA World Youth Artistic Swimming Championships open.

Kind words, wishes of luck and hope for high results.

“Samorin is a familiar destination for many of the participants of the competition, - said Lisa Schott, FINA Artistic Swimming Technical Committee Chairwoman, greeting the crowd. - Located in the heart of Europe, Samorin has hosted a number FINA aquatic events in the past, so we believe, it is an ideal stage for this Youth World Championships. Organisers have done a great job! They have outdone themselves, and all we are very grateful to them! In Samorin all favorable conditions for the young athletes – the stars of tomorrow – are in place right to help them demonstrate the attractiveness and potential of our gracious discipline. I take this opportunity to express my deepest recognition to the Slovak Government, to the city of Samorin, to the Slovak Swimming Federation and to the Organising Committee for their relentless hard-work and collaboration. I wish all competitors in Samorin the best of luck!”

“It is our honour and privilege to organise an event of such worldwide significance, - returned back the compliment Ivan Sulek, Slovak Swimming Federation President. - We fully appreciate the faith shown in us. Welcome to Slovakia, welcome to the x-bionic sphere in Šamorín, the Olympic training centre. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the athletes, trainers and judges from 35 countries for accepting our invitation to participate. We would also like to thank all the sponsors who have supported this event. These world championships in artistic swimming, under FINA’s guidance, showcase the quality of the new Olympic hopefuls. They bring a new spirit and dynamic to the development of this beautiful and demanding sport and provide an opportunity to increase its popularity. We wish the athletes success in reaching their sporting potential; the coaches - satisfaction with the performance of their charges; the judges - a lot of energy; and the spectators - a unique sporting and artistic experience!

Photo credit to Peter Sukenik, LOC

Artistic Swimming is getting stronger

“My compatriots shall eye finals, chasing medals will be a breakthrough, - noted Nada Daabousova, Slovak Olympian and one of the most recognizable athletes in her country, following the request to assess her team’s chances claiming merits. – At home even the walls help, this is true, but there are so many strong competitors at the junior and youth level! The rivalry will be very tough, and a pleasure to follow! It is our big pride that the first ever FINA World Artistic Swimming Championships is staged in our hospitable country. Artistic Swimming is developing tremendously worldwide, and FINA is doing a great job for it. It is very important for youth and junior athletes to have as many tournaments as possible, as we often say that competitions are the best practice”.

“Competitions in Artistic Swimming is always getting up, becomes stronger and stronger each year, which is a pleasure to watch, - emphasized Olga Brusnikina, FINA Artistic Swimming Technical Committee Honorary Secretary, Russian Olympic 3-time Champion of 2000 and 2004, - There are now such nations, which have not been in the list at times when I swam myself. For instance, these Youth Worlds is an international debut for Iceland, Costa Rica and Barbados, and we are wishing them good luck and are ready to share experience! It absolutely reflects the biggest role of the FINA Family, which is a success promoting Artistic Swimming and spreading knowledge worldwide. As a result, we are happy to see in each discipline there is a good queue of able and agile medal contenders, which are hot ready to win, executing complicated programs. This is a good omen, as it provides a safe basis for the bright development and future of our sport”.

The competitions in Samorin will start tomorrow, on 28 August, and the initial two very busy days will challenge contestants in 4 disciplines, whose daunting task will be to pass through preliminaries in solo, team, duets and free combination. The midway mark on 30 August will be highlighted by a “survival test” with the Figure Session, where the luck goes hand in hand to perfection and the thirst for excellence will drive participants show their best completing 4 random-selected Figures. The cream shall come at the week-end as medals in all 5 events will be played.

Follow all the action live at FINAtv  and visit official page of the competition for more information.

Photo credit to Peter Sukenik, LOC

Competition schedule

Wednesday, August, 28

10.00 – 13.00 Solo Preliminaries
16.00 – 19.00 Team Preliminaries

Thursday, August, 29

10.00 – 13.15 Duet Preliminaries
16.00 – 18.15 Free Combination Preliminaries

Friday, August, 30

10.00 – 16.00 Figure Session

Saturday, August, 31

10.00 – 11.15 Solo Final
14.00 – 14.45 Mixed Duet Final
17.00 – 18.45 Free Combination Final

Sunday, September, 1

10.00 – 11.30 Duet Final
14.00 – 15.45 Team Final
16.00 Awarding Ceremony
17.00 Gala