Next Big Test for Team USA begins Friday in France
by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming
The senior national team will participate in the second World Cup of the season this weekend in Montpellier, France. The team took part in a training camp for the past week where they were able to get acclimated to their surroundings and the new time zone. With such a successful first outing in Canada in March, anticipation is high for how the team will continue to show improvement and raise the bar in execution.
In duet, Calista Liu and Megumi Field will look to earn maximum points this season and avoid the basemark they received in Canada that placed them in fifth. They lost significant point potential in the execution category due to a slight error during the routine. However, if they are able to show improvement in execution and deliver the routine exactly as written on the coach card, they are sure to impress and see success.The category has a massive 27 entries with many familiar competitors from Canada.
Kenny Gaudet will make his 2023 competition debut in France, competing in the male technical solo category. The routine is new, and Kenny has shown impressive improvement in his technical skills since last season. The category has ten male athletes entered, including strong competitors from Spain, France and Colombia.
For team routines, the squad will compete in both the technical and acrobatic categories and look to build upon their Canada performances. In Markham, the technical MJ routine scored a 276.5374, earning the athletes a silver medal just 5.3 points behind first-place Japan. They topped the charts in difficulty and execution up north, and were edged by Japan in artistic impression, a category in which innovative head coach Andrea Fuentes surely placed emphasis during the period of training between the competitions. Thirteen countries will compete in the category, almost triple the competition from Canada. European powerhouses Ukraine, Spain, Italy and France will be great tests for the team as they prepare this version of the routine for World Championships.
In the acrobatic routine, the ceiling is high. The cavewoman routine is packed with difficulty, and some lifts fell slightly short of their written execution expectations in Canada causing USA to lose out on a few crucial points. Still, the performance wowed the crowd and the team has been training to ensure consistency in execution of the acrobatics. In Canada, the routine placed third behind Japan and Ukraine. Big competitors for USA on Sunday will be Ukraine, China and Italy.
This is also potentially the last time this specific team will compete together, as the final round of senior trials will take place mid-May in Los Angeles to determine the final squad of 12-16 that will train for the summer World Championships and Pan American Games.
To keep up with results from the meet and view competition times, visit the World Aquatics event page HERE. Fans can also follow us on social media to stay updated throughout the event.