Olga Kamardina, FINA correspondent in Hungary

The energy and the enthusiasm of young artistic swimmers highlighted the duets contest of the Competition Day 2 at the 16th FINA World Junior Artistic Swimming Championships. The events yielded a few surprises, first and foremost, on the morning session. However, in the end, athletes from Russia, Ukraine, China and Japan found themselves on top of the chart.

DUET TECHNICAL

Defending champion Russia opened another successful day in their office, setting pace in the Duet Technical. Ksenia Ladnaia and Elizaveta Minaeva celebrated a good win 2 weeks ago in Helsinki and managed to keep on their winning mood for Budapest. Although swimmers learned they were a duet just 15 months ago, their performance looked convincing. It was a speedy and rhythmic routine called “Electronic people”. A blend of a famous intro from the “Moments in love” and the modern dubstep new school interpretation had been exclusively cut for the duet by their personal DJ.

Ladnaia & Minaeva swam bigger in the water and included near flawless pair actions that gave to their presentation a unique signature. As a result, Russians to beat earned high marks by the judges, including 9.2 on elements, 9.3 on the execution and artistic impression for the overall total of 91.6280 points.

“The girls were a little bit nervous before the start, which is quite predictable. This is their first Junior World Championships and, in fact, the second international large-scale tournament, - confessed Daria Aleksandrova, one of the Russian coaches and choreographers. - Some worthy opponents have been showing strong performances all the day long, and we are more than happy, that our youngest swimmers stood still and showed their sports characters”.

The minor spoils in the Duet Technical Final went to Ukraine and China.

Aleksiiva sisters collected silver with a total of 89.9301. They thrilled the crowd, performing gracefully to the Ukranian folk melody.

“The song is called “Let the geese fly away” and it is very dynamic, - commented on the choice of music team's coach and choreographer Lesya Zaeitseva. – The program is one of the most complicated here in Budapest, and it is full of technical elements. I am pleased with the girls and with the way they have been doing so far. They coped with the uneasy task set on them, showing good height, clean lines, and earning good scoring. By the way, we have managed to improve our season’s best, got in Samorin, which gave floor for the Leg#4 of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series, by some 2 points”.

“Resistance” by Chinese Jintong Liu and Jingyan Wu was also an up-tempo program. Swimmers were meant to showcase the "labelled quality" in action. They did their job well, successfully resisting opposition of both other contenders - Japanese and Spanish - and finally landed on third at marvelous 87.5172 points.

“Our technical routine was about the mental quality and dedicated spirit, with the help of which we can be strong in life and in sport, and cope difficulties”, - explained the main idea of their story Jintong Liu of China. – We did everything well. The bronze is the first piece for our tean at this Junior Worlds, and it will keep us and our teammates motivated for further achievements.”

Japanese duo Fujiwara/Wada finished a mere 0.1194 adrift to the podium, disappointingly fourth. Irene Jimeno and Iris Tio of Spain were forced again out of the awardees, rallying 1 point to their luckier medal winning opponents. North Koreans, on the contrary, climbed up as high as 6th, swimming inspirational dance to the Spanish guitar, 84.6677 points.

DUET FREE

Kseniya Ladnaia/Elizaveta Minaeva came back to the swimming-pool one hour later with to win Free duet portion. They ranked atop of the preliminaries, which included 35 duets, drawn from the Americas, Asia and Europe. Apart from Russia, which scored 92.4333, Ukraine, China and Japan proved best swimming their routines. However, scores and ranks obtained had no further influence on the final, as the prelims was meant to select top 12 classified on chasing merits.

In the final, Russians performed their routine ninth and fully inhabited the role of a cherry on the cake. They produced speed and power swimming “Two steps from Hell” program. The rising junior stars were notably less constrained in their emotions and were assessed accordingly - by 93.1000 points oberall, with 37.2000 on the artistic impression, 27.9000 on execution and 28.0000 on difficulty.

“I am very pleased both - with classification and devotion of my swimmers, – said Nataliya Mendygalieva, senior Russian coach. – We tried hard to make an interesting and spectacular program, and scoring confirmed we have suceeded in that. Choreography is very intense to match the music, and it was a great pleasure for me to see the duet giving their best to the swim. Our girls scored well, they even managed to improve on themselves, comparing to the prelims”.

Like in Helsinki, Ukrainian Aleksiiva twins earned silver, 2.0667 points behind Russians, with a highly energetic “Hybrid house”. Emotionally strong and powerful, the program touched everyone in the crowd and purchased the rising stars their season’s best of 91.0333 points. It was divided into 36.5333 on the artistic impression, 27.3000 on execution and 27.2000 on difficulty.

“We had some 9 complicated transitions in our program, full of interesting movements and elements, and we are sure, that we had performed somewhat of an exclusive character, - acknowledged Maryna and Vladyslava Aleksiiva of Ukraine. – We are happy about the silver medals, which means we in the elite pool of the junior world. We will not cease working hard as we are aiming Olympics".

Japanese swam “For the victory”, and it winged them victoriously to the bronze. Staged and drilled by Marumi Uchiyama, the routine was very authentic. Mana Fujiwara/Ami Wada performed a series of impressive links and thrusts, and finally assumed 89.1333 points. They narrowly overtook Chinese, pushing them out of the podium.

“My swimmers are very hardworking, and this is why we keep on showing good results, - commented on the Japanese head coach. – We are very proud of winning the third bronze here, in Budapest, and we are very grateful for the organisers for everything they have been doing to stage a successful competition. Crowd support is fantastic and helps a lot”.

History notes will highlight Competition Day 3 of the 16th FINA World Junior Artistic Swimming Championships in Budapest as one more set of medals in the Team Technical will come on offer tomorrow. Preliminary Team overall sees defending champion Russia keeps on the high tempo with a clean gold sweep - 4/4. Ukraine goes after on 4 silvers, as Japan and China are the two other nations awarded in Budapest.

Competition results. 16th FINA World Junior Synchronised Swimming Championships. Day 2

Duet Free Final

1. Ladnaia Kseniya/Minaeva Kseniya (RUS) 91.6280, 2. Aleksiiva Maryna/Aleksiiva Vladyslava (UKR) 89.9301, 3. Liu Jinhan/Liu Jintong (CHN) 87.5172, 4. Fujiwara Mana/Wada Ami (JPN) 87.3978, 5. Jumeno Irene/Tio Iris (ESP) 86.5032, 6. Han Kyong Ryong/Kim Jin Ju (PRK) 84.6677, 7. Murru Marta/Zunino Francesca (ITA) 84.6527, 8. Armstrong Emily/ Barrett Catherine (CAN) 84.2473, 9. Dipla Ifigeneia/Taxopoulou Maria (GRE) 81.8581, 10. Shortman Kate/Thorpe Isabelle (GBR) 81.6957, 11. Elian Yara/Remati Ruby (USA) 81.5151, 12. Arellano Fernanda/Sida Sofia (MEX) 79.7097, 13. Mello Paloma/Thoni Alyssa (SUI) 78.5344, 14. David Janka/Szabo Veronka (HUN) 77.6538, 15. Miccuci Laura/Veloso Anna Giulia (BRA) 77.2688, 16. Neussl Vassilissa/Pinter Yvette (AUT) 76.4032, 17. Degtyareva Yana/Russanova Jennifer (KAZ) 76.1258, 18. Hodova Eliska/Mrazkova Aneta (CZE) 75.8452, 19. Verbena Jasmine/Zonzini Jasmine (SMR) 75.6032, 20. Hiekal Hanna/Radwan Farida (EGY) 74.1333, 21. Kvasnovska Kristina/Novotna Barbora (SVK) 73.7344, 22. Ferrer Morena/Ferrer Zoe (ARG) 72.8376, 23. Mok Christine/Yong Miya (SGP) 72.2323, 24. Kadic Lorena/Palijan Lana (CRO) 71.8376, 25. Franco Isabela/Orozco Valentina (COL) 71.8065, 26. Damentka Gabriela/Filipiuk Aleksandra (POL) 70.8591, 27. Dicle Sude/Onal Ide Ezgi (TUR) 70.2366, 28. Kontic Jelena/Pocuca Jana (SRB) 70.0710, 29. De Leon Clara/Madeira Ana Paula (URU) 68.2968, 30. Carrasquillo Lorens/Luis Paula (PUR) 67.2151, 31. Croes Kainah/Tromp Meghan (ARU) 65.9892, 32. Van Huyssteen Tayla-Jade/Van Zyl Taegan (RSA) 59.5753, 33. Peiris Sinali/Perera Sansala (SRI) 46.7075.

Duet Technical Final

1. Ladnaia Kseniya/Minaeva Kseniya (RUS) 93.1000, 2. Aleksiiva Maryna/Aleksiiva Vladyslava (UKR) 91.0333, 3. Fujiwara Mana/Wada Ami (JPN) 89.1333, 4. Liu Jinhan/Liu Jintong (CHN) 89.0000, 5. Jumeno Irene/Tio Iris (ESP) 87.8333, 6. Armstrong Emily/ Hope Paige (CAN) 86.2333, 7. Murru Marta/Zunino Francesca (ITA) 85.6000, 8. Han Kyong Ryong/Kim Jin Ju (PRK) 84.5667, 9. Taxopoulou Maria/Vasilopoulou Georgia (GRE) 83.1667, 10. Shortman Kate/Thorpe Isabelle (GBR) 82.9000, 11. Elian Yara/Remati Ruby (USA) 82.5000, 12. Arellano Fernanda/Sida Sofia (MEX) 80.6667.