Olga Kamardina, FINA Correspondent in Russia

The third leg of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series has finally hit the tape in Kazan, Russia. The ultimate 2 team titles settled as the number of medals winning nations enhanced to eight. The absence of the Russian team in the Highlights and Team Free Combination did not have any substantial impact on the podium’s order, featuring the home hopes continuing their winning streak.

TEAM HIGHLIGHT: Kazakhstan checks in on podium

Although Team Russia was not registered for the Highlights, the first gold of the day was doomed to land on its side. The chase on the merits turned into a merry-go-round as 3 host teams competed to grab their share of international merits. Saint-Petersburg was more impressive than the rest, scoring 85.4670 on their “Merry thieves” program, a tiny 0.0100 point ahead of their next Russian and rough 4 points to international challengers.

“We are happy about the gold medal, - said Elena Dolzhenko, coach of the Saint Petersburg squad. – We have done a good job, taking into consideration a short period of time on the preparations we had. Learning we are to show Highlights 10 days ago, we chose the program, which was not new, but very energetic. Carlsson story of the thieves, running down the roofs, inspired our girls. Supports could have been higher and synchronization better, but all in all, we are happy about the overall and about the win”.

Team Kazakhstan earns their first medal in Kazan (Photo: Courtesy to LOC)

Kazakhstan collected their first medal in Kazan as their Highlights program scored 80.7000 points. Their Wild Indians were acted out emotionally, but definitely needed brushing.

“Our aim this season is FINA World Championships in Korea, and we hope we will make it possible to improve on every aspect of our routine, - commented on Nailya Baimurzina, coach of Kazakhstan. – This is our debuting swim of the year, and we will look forward to work on hard to brush it up”.

Swimming to the soundtrack to the “Incredibles”, Hungarians performed an intense composition, which included a number of spectacular lifts, Hybrids and a kaleidoscope. A new group of swimmers came to Kazan to improve their overall of Alexandroupolis, Greece. The local task has been hit, alongside bringing them the first podium presence of the year.

“Step by step we are improving, and the scores we have received today, 79.7333 with 32.1333 on the artistic impression, shows we are on the right way, - said Natalia Tarasova, Hungarian head coach. Immediately after the swim, she was loudly telling the girls of their errors. - Today they were not perfect at all in terms of collaboration in the water, - she noted. - We are supposed to get much better by the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series Super Final, which is due to take place in Budapest this June”.

Team Hungary, bronze medalists in the Team Highlights (Photo: Courtesy to LOC)

TEAM FREE COMBINATION: Home hopes a head above

Another triumph of the host team took place in the afternoon session of the ultimate competition day of the Kazan’s ASWS 2019 Leg.

There were again 14 contenders for the Russian Champion’s title, which came along with the FINA merits. Team Moscow not just outplayed their local challengers` with their strong “Carnival” program, but finished atop of the international field at a marvelous 10 points gap.

Russians earned 92.5333 points with 28.0000 on difficulty, 27.2000 on execution, and 37.3333 on the artistic impression.

“It was a pleasure to watch, - commented Russian head coach Tatiana Pokrovskaya. – My compliments to the Moscow team, they have done a good job. Of course, to grow in their skills, they should never stop working, as well as our national team athletes do. Russia has strong artistic swimming background, and the main basis for it is steady training”.

Belarus got silver on 81.8000 points, adding to another silver they pocketed in Budapest on Leg #5 of the FINA Artistic World Series-2018. In Kazan they presented their computer inspired program, called “Cuphead”. Run and gun was its main idea, and 10 Belarus girls hit it well.

“I love the Team free combination routine, - confessed Vera Butsel of Belarus, just after the Awarding Ceremony. – It is pretty challenging to swim, as there are a lot of creative patterns and lifts. By the way, lifts have been our weak point today, so we will have to improve them by the next competitions”.

Team Belarus, silver medalists in the Team Free Combination (Photo: Courtesy to LOC)

The third place drifted to Hungary, the third international participant of the Kazan’s Free Combo contest. Performing an Odyssey routine, they finished but a 0.1666 points behind the second. The routine was well-known for the Magyars as they presented it both in the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series-2018 and FINA Junior Worlds in Budapest, and by now have managed to improve the overall by a nearly a full point.

“Kazan is definitely a lucky city for us, and we know why, - said Anna Apathy of Hungary. – Our junior team has celebrated 3 podium presences, which is an inspiring result. We train a lot to improve our skills, and it is always very rewarding to be able to get medals”.

Overall recap

3 competition days of the of the 2019 FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Kazan were a success, collecting over 300 athletes of 12 countries, which played out 10 sets of medals. The good number of participants became possible owing to the 3rd leg of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series integrated the annual Russian Championships, one of the strongest on the continent.
The Perennial favorite Russia added 9 more to its numerous Artistic Swimming titles. Italy will bring home 1 gold and 2 silver medals, where as the third most successful nation in Kazan was Spain, claiming 5 podium appearances.

Team Russia celebrates another triumph (Photo: Courtesy to LOC)

The next stop en route from Europe to Asia is due to take place later this month in Tokyo. The main take is yet to come, exciting hunger for medals and points. The 3rd edition of Artistic Swimming World Series is designed to keep everyone in engaged till the very Super Final scheduled to take place after 8 “regular” meets are over in June.

Lisa Schott, FINA Technical Delegate, FINA Artistic Swimming Technical Committee Chairwoman:

"All medals are played out, all routines are performed, and the Gala came as a big artistic swimming show, very impressive and attractive for all spectators. Kazan loves our sport, we feel it, and therefore we will be happy come back to your sports city next year.

FINA Artistic Swimming World Series is always looking to grow both in numbers and geographically, which is very important. We realize, that if we don’t grow the sport worldwide, then the sport dies. We are working hard all around the globe to ensure countries have the opportunity to invite coaches in order to teach children. Education is a key. FINA has invested a lot in our sport, and we are very thankful. I think You can see the consequences that fill us with the energy. We are concentrating on the grass routes to grow up the next Olympian generations.

FINA Artistic Swimming World Series is developing tremendously. This year we have 8 stops, Kazan was the third of them. And every time I watch the routines, they improve. A good number of meets in course of the year make swimmers better prepared for the major competitions, like FINA World Championships and Olympic Games. This is a great platform for development, and hopefully we will continue to grow all around the world".

Olga Brusnikina and Lisa Schott (Photo: Courtesy to RUSSPORTIMAGE)

Competition results. FINA Artistic Swimming World Series 2019. Competition Day 3

Team Highlights.

1. RUSSIA, Saint-Petersburg-1 (Dergacheva Natalia, Efremenko Anna, Golubeva Alisa, Golubeva Ekaterina, Ivanova Polina, Pavlenko Evilina, Pavlova Elizaveta, Pavlovskaya Anna, Perebeynos Margarita, Presniakova Iana, Smirnova Liubov, Shaidullina Karina) 85.4667

2. KAZAKHSTAN (Yezdakova Olga, Simonova Yekaterina, Krylova Yelena, Kurmangaliyeva Aigerim, Zhiyengazy Zhaniya, Abdulina Karina, Kakutia Eteri, Makarova Xeniya, Bolatova Nargiza, Russanova Jennifer, Skakovskaya Valeriya 80.7000

3. HUNGARY (Apathy Anna, David Janka, Di Franco Alice, Farkas Linda, Gacs Boglarka, Gersternkorn Mira, Hungler Szabina, Kassai Kamilla, Szabo Anna, Teravagimov Virag, Gotz Lilien, Pentek Lili 79.7333

Women Team Free Combination 

1. RUSSIA (Bazlova Antonina, Khudiakova Kseniya, Kossova Ekaterina, Ladnaya Kseniya, Minaeva Elizaveta, Nesterova Valeriya, Platonova Olesya,Solovyova Polina, Titova Sophia, Zhavoronkova Arina, Gaiday Tatiana, Polyakova Elizaveta) 92.5333

2. BELARUS (Butsel Vera, Khandoshka Vasilina, Kiryliuk Marharyta, Koutsun Hanna, Kudzina Yana, Kulagina Daria, Kuliashova Kseniya, Navasiolava Anastasiya, Privezentseva Vita, Vysotskaya Aliaksandra, Valasach Valeriya) 81.8000

3. HUNGARY (Apathy Anna , David Janka,Farkas Linda, Gacs Boglarka, Gersternkorn Mira, Hungler Szabina, Kassai Kamilla, Pentek Lili, Szabo Anna, Teravagimov Virag, Di Franco Alice, Gotz Lilien) 79.2667