USA's Youth Team Ready for 2023 Youth World Championships
by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming
The youth national team is ready to make waves in Greece this week after a summer of hard work. The Youth World Artistic Swimming Championships begin tomorrow with the female solo, male solo and team preliminary competition. Thursday will host the female duet, mixed duet and combination preliminary categories before figures are combined with routine scores on Friday. The standings will determine who earns the opportunity to swim in finals. The competition is massive, with categories filled with talented athletes from around the world. As the 2022 Overall High Point nation, USA has high expectations for the competition. The team is led by head coach Ludi Perrin-Stsepaniuk and assistant coach Lara Mase.
Kanako Field, younger sister of senior national team superstar Megumi Field, will represent USA in female solo and duet in her first year on the youth national team. For solo, she will compete in a field of 31 soloists from around the world. Field will pair with fellow west zone athlete Ghizal Akbar, who served as duet alternate last year for the national team and had a standout youth competition season in the United States. The two swimmers boast elite technical ability individually and will certainly be a pair to watch in Greece against 27 other female pairs.
In an impressive showing of male growth in the sport, there are 13 male soloists that will swim in Greece including USA’s own Michael Chan. Chan won the silver medal last year behind France’s Valliccioni. While last year’s gold medalist will not be competing in Greece, the male solo category has almost tripled in size and Chan will likely face the steepest competition of his career. Nevertheless, he is well prepared for the challenge and has shown immense growth in his past season training with the La Mirada Aquabelles.
For mixed duet, Chan will pair with Abigail Gallon who he swam with this season at the national championship in the United States. Chan is the 2022 youth mixed duet gold medalist and while his previous duet partner has moved up to the junior age group, he has had even more time to swim with his 2023 partner Gallon. They will look to showcase their familiarity and synchronization against the competition in Greece.
The entire 2023 youth squad comes from eight different clubs across the United States. The eight athletes swimming the team routine include Kananko Field, Ghizal Akbar, Samantha Chu, Hannah Ryou, Mona Schwickert, Sophia Shen, Sophia Tsives and Olivia Zhu. The ten athletes swimming combination include Ghizal Akbar, Michael Chan, Samantha Chu, Abigail Gallon, Wendi Ning, Hannah Ryou, Mona Schwickert, Sophia Shen, Sophia Tsives and Olivia Zhu. Both categories include international powerhouses and will be exciting to watch.
For the full schedule, results and streaming information visit the World Aquatics event page HERE.