20th World Championships Conclude in Japan
by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming
The 20th Aquatics World Championships concluded today in Fukuoka, Japan with the culmination of the free team category. Overall, USA collected two bronze and two silver medals across seven categories and eight days of competition. Of the teams that competed in the three Olympic disciplines of technical team, free team and acrobatic team, USA finished in third place behind China and Japan and ahead of Israel and Italy. The team continued to climb the rankings and write their names in our history books, securing many country-best finishes since 2007.
Kenny Gaudet competed in the first ever male solo competition at a World Championship and is returning to the USA as double World medalist. He took risks in both categories, increasing his already high difficulty and rising to the occasion. Of course, the team also made history by capturing a silver medal in the acrobatic category and a bronze in technical team. Many strong countries had exceptional performances at the championship, and USA’s finishes represent another step forward in the journey to returning an American team to the Olympic Games. To read the detailed recap of the first half of the competition, click HERE.
In free duet, Megumi Field and Ruby Remati secured a trip to finals after only sixty days of being duet partners. The choreography for the free routine was crafted by head coach Andrea Fuentes at the end of May and was the newest routine of the delegation’s material. They finished in seventh place behind long time duet partners from Austria, China, Japan, Israel, Great Britain and Ukraine.
In free team, USA positioned themselves within reach of another medal, finishing the preliminary competition in fifth behind China, Spain, Japan and Ukraine. In the final competition, several base marks meant they fell to ninth in the final. The routine was reworked from the 2022 Championships in Budapest to adhere to the new timing restrictions and scoring system. It was the first time competing the new version in 2023 and the team will now have a good jumping off point to make adjustments before the Pan American Games.
The next step for the team will be in Santiago in November where they will compete to earn the continental team qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. There, they will compete in free team and duet, technical team and duet and the acrobatic routine. While Team USA was able to utilize 12 athletes across the three categories in Fukuoka, the delegation is only permitted to utilize nine at the Pan American Games meaning the competition for the nine spots will be fierce with the high level of talent within the team.