Ruby RematiMegumi FieldKenny GaudetNewsSenior National Team

2023 World Championships Halfway Highlights: First Male Solo World Medal and First Team World Medal for USA in 16 Years

by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming

Team USA has started out on fire at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Capitalizing on the new scoring system and showing continued growth and ingenuity, the senior national team has shown that USA is indeed back on the international artistic swimming map during the first four days of competition.  
Kenny Gaudet set the tone for the competition, opening up USA’s competition journey with a technical solo performance free of base marks to place him in second behind Spain after the preliminary round of competition. With third place Kazakstan close behind, Gaudet made the bold decision to increase his difficulty, which was already the highest in the field, to collect a few extra points in the final round. Of course, he risked falling out of medal contention if he had not successfully executed the increased difficulty. Increasing his difficulty from 27.65 to 28.6, his strategy paid off and he secured a silver medal after once again executing his routine without a base mark. This is the first year male solo has been included in the World Championship program, and Gaudet was emotional when receiving his medal. He finished 7.755 behind Spain and .8 ahead of Kazakhstan. Kenny has been working closely with coach and high-performance manager Lara Teixeira and teammate and mentor Bill May on his solos leading up to competition. He will look to set himself up to double his World medal collection as he competes in the free preliminary this afternoon.

Yesterday was a monumental moment in my journey in this sport. It's an honor to be a male in this sport during this time and the biggest honor to be a soloist for the United States of America. I'm going to lock in for the rest of competition and focus on what I can control to hopefully have success in the free solo portion as well.
Kenny Gaudet

Megumi Field and Ruby Remati had a shaky start to their journey as duet partners in the technical competition, missing out on a trip to finals after falling to base mark on two of the technical elements. They weren’t alone, as a vast majority of the technical duet field struggled to execute clean performances. This competition marks Ruby’s return to the elite competition landscape and the technical duet was her first time experiencing the unique pressure the new scoring system brings. Additionally, as such a new pair, they received synchronization penalties on the higher end of the field. However, the ceiling is clearly high for these two once they find their footing. Their individual technical capabilities and style of artistic swimming mesh well together, as do their personalities outside of the pool. In the end they finished 17th of 38 pairs. Ruby and Megumi will look for redemption in the free duet portion of the competition that also happens today. 
Without a doubt, the team competition in Fukuoka has seen some of the most exciting developments in the artistic swimming world. The new scoring system has allowed teams to be rewarded for taking educated risks and properly penalized teams for failing to execute declared movements and acrobatics. The acrobatic routine won the second medal of the competition yesterday evening, the first team World medal for USA since 2007 and the first World medal in an Olympic event since 2003. The creative lifts, choreography and costuming captured the audience in Fukuoka and the team finished second in the preliminary round. First-place China took notice and replicated USA’s platform lift in their own routine before finals to increase their difficulty and attempt to comfortably widen the gap between gold and silver medal placement. Their strategy worked, and China stayed in first place. Still, USA, with the highest difficulty in the field, showed consistency and managed to stay base mark-free to win a monumental silver medal, ahead of competitors previously seen as unreachable.

Technical team competition is halfway complete, with finals happening later to close out Tuesday’s competition slate. Other countries followed suit from USA’s World Cup strategy and increased their declared difficulties to maximize scoring potential. In the preliminary round, USA received a base mark on the final hybrid of the routine, keeping them off the preliminary podium behind China, Greece and Italy. They finished narrowly behind Italy, who also received a base mark, with less than three points of separation between third and fourth. Fans will have to watch to see what countries, if any, make alterations to their coach cards for finals and who can execute the declared difficulty without penalty. If USA can complete the Michael Jackson routine without base mark penalties, the squad has a legitimate chance at a second team medal.  
Still to come in the next three days of competition are the male solo free preliminary and final, women duet free preliminary and final, technical team final and free team preliminary and final. To stay updated on results and behind-the-scenes moments, follow us on Instagram.

Helpful Links: Media Guide | Watch on Recast | World Aquatics Results

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