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.
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.
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.
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.