Category Archives: Aquatic Sports

ASWS 2019: KAZAN FIELD FEATURES OLYMPIC AND WORLD MEDALLISTS

The Olympic medal-winning Russians Svetlana Kolesnichenko and Svetlana Romashina are only the two out of some 20 prominent names on the entry list for the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Kazan to be launched this Friday as the artistic week-end in the heart of Russia will kick off on April 19, to hit the tape in 3 days.

Kazan’s premiere

The event, hosted by the Kazan’s Aquatics Palace, is the third out of eight legs in the 2019 circuit, which is designed to reach climax in Budapest at the Super Final premiere later this mid-June. Like the Hungarian capital, Tatar’s city is pretty well known in the aquatics world. Appearing on the map in 2013, Kazan turned out to be a proud host for the FISU Summer Universiade, two years later (2015) it provided background to the FINA World Championships and FINA World Masters Championships. Kazan already hosted 3 Junior World Championships in artistic swimming and diving, and a number of other top level competitions such as diving and swimming events, though never before had a chance to offer hospitality for the Artistic Swimming World Series. Finally, the gap shall be filled this April, bringing here a selection of the world’s best names.

Some 300 athletes of 12 nations will have 3 busy days, swimming 5 technical (solo, mixed duet, duet and team) and 5 free routines (solo, mixed duet, duet, team, combination and highlight). The participants number impresses as the 3rd leg of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series integrates the Russian Championships one of the strongest in the continent.

Ten sets of medals are again on offer, including a very spectacular mixed duets contest, introduced exactly four years ago in the same city.

All eyes on stars

As for the stars to watch, the Russian girls will be the major attractions, as they normally are wherever they come. Italy, China, Belarus, Hungary and Austria are among the main contenders for the podium spots.

Photo credit: FINA

Solo

Svetlana Kolesnichenko will hope to bring her vast experience to mark her official start of the international season. Last year, the 2016 Olympic champion and 13 times World champion set the bar at sky high with 95.5000 points for the free program, whereas her teammate Varvara Subbotina posted a season-best in the tech event, 94.1509. However, the latter will not be a part competition this weekend, the same holding true for the “reigning queens”. Ukrainian Marta Fiedina and Yukiko Inui of Japan, recording the 2019 best at 92.7000 for free and 90.5294 for technical programmes, will not come to Kazan leaving the door open for Vasilina Khandoshka of Belarus. Remember her breakthrough bronze at the inaugural leg of the ASWS 2019 in Paris. Top class swim shall be expected by the Italian star Linda Cerruti, already silver this year (solo free, leg#1). In Kazan, she is going to swim both solos cherishing a good hope to add up to her 6 medals collection of 2018.

Duets

The very Linda Cerruti pairing her many-year partner Costanza Ferro shall be a sure bet in duets.

Last year they hit 1-2 in both routines, and already got a silver at each of the two previous FINA ASWS 2019 stops. Although they could never reach before the Ukrainian headliners Marta Fiedina/Anastasiia Savchuk and the Aleksiiva sisters (who collected the best harvest on points: 91.4462 – for technical, and 92.8000 for free programme), Kazan will give them a good chance to exhibit.

A great comeback of Svetlana Romashina to match Svetlana Kolesnichenko is in the focus, of course. With their eyes on Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the home hopes are more than ready to present in Russia their new programs.

FINA’S NEWEST SWIMMING COMPETITION TO LAUNCH NEXT MONTH

Next month, from April 27-28, the first meet of the first ever edition of the FINA Champions Swim Series will inaugurate the three-leg 2019 circuit in Guangzhou, China.

As entry lists are being carefully put together on an invite-only basis, many big swimming names have confirmed their participation and a warm welcome was received for the new top-notch Series so far.

Elite athletes from the five continents are ready to compete in thrilling races, not only setting the pace for the 2019 season, but also defining (or reconfirming) the world hierarchy before two important rendezvous, the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju (KOR) and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo (JPN).

The second leg will be held in Budapest (HUN) from May 11-12, while the third and last meet will be staged in Indianapolis (USA) from May 31-June 1.

These three partners in Asia, Europe and America responded “present” when asked by FINA to support this innovative concept, which will lead to the improvement of Swimming’s image and exposure around the globe.

From the organisers’ side, Guangzhou, Budapest and Indianapolis will largely benefit from this additional opportunity to enhance their position of sports cities on the world map. The three Organisers are doing their utmost to provide optimal condition for all Series’ participants. They are solid and long-time FINA partners and they couldn’t miss this opportunity to make history in the sport of Swimming. FINA is carefully following the respective preparations for the event, and is are quite confident and optimistic for an excellent outcome.

FINA is conscious of the Aquatics attractiveness in the ever growing and challenging current sports environment. FINA’s disciplines generate a huge interest from the spectators on site, but also from fans, remotely connected worldwide. This is due to the fascination for our Stars, who are constantly giving their best to raise the level in their respective disciplines.

FINA Champions Swim Series
PHOTO CREDIT: FINA

FINA is already recognising the athletes effort, by providing financial support to their participation in our major events, by regularly improving the prize money for the best, and by paying a fair tribute to their performance through our annual “FINA World Aquatics Gala – Soirée des Etoiles”.

The new Champions Swim Series is FINA’s latest innovation to jump into an even more spectacular way to display and present our events. This is the philosophy behind the creation of the event which focuses on the sports presentation with ultimate aim to attract the top-stars of our sports in a competition where “sport” and “entertainment” are the key words.

With a new competition format – only four athletes per race, taking par in a final-only race -, an unprecedented level of prize money and very attractive conditions for participation, this circuit will surely create a milestone in the Swimming calendar and will very soon become an unmissable competition for our athletes.

BEIJING READY TO HOST SECOND DIVING WORLD SERIES LEG

National heroes and Olympic champions Shi Tingmao, Cao Yuan and British stars Thomas Daley and Jack Laugher will lead a total a group of 78 divers from 14 countries ready to compete at the second leg of the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series, from March 7-9.

The Beijing Water Cube is hosting this last major competition before it is transformed into the Ice Cube, the venue that will stage the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games curling competition.

FINA Best Women Diver of the Year consecutively since 2015 Shi Tingmao said during the pre-meet press conference:

“It is always great and sweet to compete in the Water Cube. I have a new partner, but long-time friend, Wang Han for the synchro event. Wang is excellent and skilful. I hope we can show our best in front of the home crowds.”

Cao Yuan, who collected two golds in the synchro platform and synchro springboard as well as one silver medal in the individual 3m springboard in the first leg in Sagamihara, Japan, said he will continue his momentum in Beijing.

“It is a big challenge to me to handle three events from springboard and platform. I need to find the balance in between,” Cao said.

Thomas Daley was happy to come back to the Water Cube again:

“I took four months off with my family because I now have a son. It changed my perspective on a lot of things, including training and diving. For me being able to train and dive is all the more important now because I have someone that I want to make proud,” said Daley who made a strong comeback last week in Japan as he finished second in the 10m platform with 579.85 points, just behind Chinese Yang Jian’s 586.20.

“It was my first international competition since I am back from my break and it went pretty well last week. So I am looking forward to competing here in the Water Cube,” Daley said.

photo credit: FINA

Jack Laugher, 2016 Olympic gold medallist in the 3m synchro springboard, who had an operation on his ankle last year said:

“I had a difficult season last year, but I am getting ready this year. China is always one of my favourite legs and where I always did pretty well. I am really glad to be here,” Laugher said.

According to Water Cube Director Yang Qiyong, it is the ninth edition of World Series and the last one before the venue makes its transition into the Ice Cube.

“I hope you will enjoy the top diving competition here and then we will turn the Water Cube into the Ice Cube for the Olympics Year in three years.”

China swept all ten gold medals on offer at the first leg of the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series in Japan.

FINA

OVER 260 DIVERS, INCLUDING OLYMPIC AND WORLD CHAMPIONS, TO TAKE PART IN DIVING WORLD SERIES 2019

The 2019 FINA/CNSG Diving World Series, a competition exclusively open to the world’s diving elite, with numerous World and Olympic champions taking part, will kick-off next week in Sagamihara (JPN, March 1-3), one of the two new hosts of this year’s circuit which is expected to see over 260 divers throughout the season. The Series provides an additional opportunity for the divers to prepare for the 18th FINA World Championships 2019 in Gwangju (KOR) and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, offering worldwide visibility through the broadcast agreements in place.

The event will then move to Beijing (CHN) on March 7-9. The last three meets will be held in Montreal (CAN, April 26-28) , Kazan (RUS, May 10-12) and London (GBR, May 17-19), as the capital comes back on the circuit after hosting a leg of the Series in 2015.

The total prize money available for this 13th edition of the Series is USD 1.35M. Only divers taking part in all five legs are eligible for the overall prize money.

Since the inception of the event, China is the dominating force as Chinese divers have won 49 medals, while 12 nations have shared the podium throughout the years. Russia and Canada are the other two best nations to watch for.

The Beijing leg will once more be highlighted by the participation of the sport’s biggest names: Chinese stars Cao Yuan, Siyi Xie, Chen Aisen, Shi Tingmao and Ren Qian are amongst the ones to watch for. Canada’s strong delegation is going to be headlined by Jennifer Abel, Pamela Ware and Meaghan Benfeito, while Francois Imbeau-Dulac and Philipe Gagne are also attending. Evgenii Kzunetsov, Nikita SHleikher, Aleksandr Bondar et Iuliia Tomoshinina will represent Russia. Great Britan’s most famous diver Thomas Daley will of course take the plunge and will be joined by, but not only, Jack Laugher, Lois Toulson and Grace Reid. Mexico is another potential medal contender with Rommel Pacheco and the DPR Korean heroes Mi Rae Kim and Il Myong Hyon could steal the show too. Complete Entry List is available on FINA website.

You will be able to closely follow LIVE all the results of this meet on the FINA app, and all finals will be live streamed on FINAtv.

FINA ARTISTIC SWIMMING WORLD SERIES 2019 – HOSTS & DATES

The final calendar of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series 2019 has been announced, with eight hosts in Europe and Asia staging the event from February to June.

The event will kick-off in Europe with three hosts: Paris (FRA) from February 28 to March 3, Alexandroupolis (GRE) on April 4-7 and Kazan (RUS) from April 19-21.

Two Asian hosts, Tokyo (JPN) and Beijing (CHN) will then welcome the 2019 circuit on April 27-29 and May 4-5 respectively.

The artistic swimming competition will then move to North America as Greensboro (USA) will stage the sixth leg from May 24-26 and Quebec City (CAN) the seventh leg from May 30 to June 1.

Photo credit FINA

Finally the circuit will conclude in Barcelona (ESP) from May 31- June 2, before the first Super Final is organised in Budapest (HUN) from June 14-16, 2019.

Paris (FRA) : 28 February – 3 March
Alexandroupolis (GRE) : 4 – 7 April
Kazan (RUS) : 19-21 April
Tokyo (JPN) : 27 – 29 April
Beijing (CHN) : 4 – 6 May
Greensboro (USA) : 24 – 26 May
Quebec City (CAN) : 30 May – 1 June
Barcelona (ESP) : 31 May – 2 June
Super Final – Budapest (HUN) – June 14-16

14TH FINA WORLD SWIMMING: “GRAND FINALE” FOR TEAM USA

USA clearly dominated the sixth and final day of the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Hangzhou (CHN), winning six gold medals out of the 10 finals at stake. In the three relays in the programme, the North Americans were the best with new Championships records, while in individual races they did the 1-2 in the women’s 200m breast and in the women’s 100m fly, with Caeleb Dressel also imposing his class in the men’s 100m free. Otherwise, Mikhailo Romanchuk (UKR) shone in the men’s 1500m free, Evgeny Rylov (RUS) was the best in the men’s 200m back, Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) won the last race of his career (50m breast), and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED, women’s 50m free) concluded in the best possible way a very successful participation in China.

Photo credit: FINA

Without surprise, USA was the “Best Team” of the Championships, while individually, Chad Le Clos (RSA) and Katinka Hosszu (HUN) were respectively the “Best Male” and “Best Female” athletes in Hangzhou. The South African star won four medals in the competition – gold in the 100m fly, silver in the 50m and 200m fly, and bronze in the 100m free -, while the Magyar great accumulated four gold (200m fly, 100m, 200m and 400m IM) and one silver (100m back).

During the six-day competition in Hangzhou, no less than nine World Records – six in relays (five by the USA and one for Brazil), and three in individual races: Ariarne Titmus (AUS) in the women’s 400m free, Kirill Prigoda (RUS) in the men’s 200m breast, and Daiya Seto (JPN) in the men’s 200m IM.

In the medal chart, USA is the clear leader, with a total of 36 podium presences (17 gold, 15 silver and four bronze), followed by Russia (6/5/3), Hungary (4/1/0), Netherlands (3/6/2) and China (3/5/5).

Starting the last session, the women’s 4x50m free relay consecrated the team of USA (Madison Kennedy, Mallory Comerford, Kelsi Dhalia and Erika Brown) winning gold in 1:34.03, a new Championships record. The previous best mark of the Championships had been achieved by the Netherlands in Doha 2014, in a time of 1:34.24. The Dutch quartet (led by very fast Ranomi Kromowidjojo, in 23.60) couldn’t do better in Hangzhou, clocking 1:34.55 for the silver, while Australia had to content for the bronze in 1:36.34.

Shortly after, in the men’s 1500m free, Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) fought an epic duel with Mykhailo Romanchuk, from Ukraine. The Italian star is the World Record holder in the event, in a time of 14:08.06 from December 2015, and swam all the race in the lead, but in the end he could not sustain the Ukrainian’s strong finish and concluded with a silver (14:09.87). Romanchuk got the gold in 14:09.14, a new Championships record, bettering the previous time of Tae Hwan Park (KOR, 14:15.51), from Windsor 2016. In a distant third place, Henrik Christiansen earned bronze in 14:19.39. It is the fourth consecutive medal for the Italian in this race, after winning in 2014, and getting two silver in 2012 and 2016.

In one of the most thrilling events of the evening, Caeleb Dressel (USA), Vladimir Morozov (RUS) and Chad Le Clos (RSA) were clear favourites for the medals, and they confirmed everyone’s expectations in the 100m free. The North American, swimming in lane 3, touched home in 45.62 for gold, while Morozov concluded in 45.64 for silver and Le Clos was third in 45.89. The Russian had won this race in 2012 and has the Championships’ record in this event from Doha 2014 (45.51). Morozov had won the 50m free, while Dressel was silver medallist in the 50m free and 100m fly.

FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: TITMUS (AUS) EXCELS AND RUSSIA COLLECTS GOLD

After winning the women’s 400m free in a new WR time, 18-year-old Ariarne Titmus (AUS) definitively became one of the revelations of the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), being held in Hangzhou (CHN). In the fourth day of competition, the young Australian was the sole individual swimmer establishing a new global mark, but two more WR were set in relay events (by USA and Brazil). Other highlights included the third gold for Hosszu, the second individual win for Kromowidjojo, and the brilliant Russian performances by Kolesnikov, Morozov and Rylov. Finally, thanks to Shane Ryan (men’s 50m back, bronze), Ireland managed to have its first swimming medallist in the 25-year history of this competition.

In the first individual final of the day, Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED) proved her excellent shape in Hangzhou, clearly dominating operations in the women’s 50m butterfly. The Dutch star touched home in 24.47, a new Championships Record (improving the mark of Sarah Sjostrom, 24.58, from Doha 2014). The minor medals went to Holly Barratt (AUS, 24.80, silver) and to Kelsi Dahlia (USA, 24.97, bronze). It was the second win for Kromowidjojo in China, after being also the fastest in the 100m free.

Another best mark of the event was improved in the men’s 100m individual medley, a thrilling duel between Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) and Marco Orsi (ITA). In the end, the Russian was faster, touching the wall in 50.63 (0.03 better than the time of Markus Deibler, GER, in Doha 2014). It was also a new Junior WR for Kolesnikov (third in the 100m back), the star of the recent Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires (ARG), who improved his own best performance of 50.90. Orsi had to content with silver in 51.03, while Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori earned bronze in 51.53. Michael Andrew (USA), winner in 2016, was only fourth this time, clocking 51.58.

Hosszu earned her third gold (after the 200m fly and 400m IM) in Hangzhou, by convincingly winning the women’s 100m IM in 57.26, thus getting her fourth consecutive crown in this event. Her main challengers were far behind, with Runa Imai, from Japan, getting silver in 57.85 and Alia Atkinson (JAM) finishing third (the same result than in 2016) in 58.11. The two US representatives in the final, Melanie Margalis and Kathleen Baker could not reach the podium, touching in fourth and fifth respectively. Emily Seebohm (AUS), third in 2014 and second in 2016, also finished in a disappointing sixth place.

Photo credit: FINA

In the most interesting race of the day, the women’s 400m free, Australia’s Ariarne Titmus (already winner of the 200m free) was brilliant and did the perfect race against the recent World Record holder (3:53.97, since last October) in the distance, China’s Wang Jianjiahe. Taking an early lead in the race, Titmus (18 years old) never lost control of operations, touching home in a new global mark of 3:53.92. Wang, winner of the 800m free in Hangzhou and strongly “pushed” by the home crowd, could never seriously threaten the Australian prodigy, earning silver in 3:54.56. Her teammate Li Bingjie completed the podium in 3:57.99. Leah Smith, winner in 2016, had to content this time with the fourth position, in 3:58.58. It was the first female individual WR at these Championships, after successful efforts from Daiya Seto and Kirill Prigoda in the men’s field. Before Hangzhou, Titmus had been third in 4x200m free relay at the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships and fourth in the 400m free of the same competition. At the 2016 edition of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) she swam three finals: 400m free (sixth), 800m free (fourth) and 4x200m free relay (fourth).