One Week Out: 2023 Pan American Games Preview
by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming
Technical and Free Duet: Ruby Remati & Megumi Field
This is Megumi and Ruby’s second event competing duet together. However, they have been training together since the early days of the former Robot free routine when Megumi was first called up to the senior squad. Prior to World Championships, Ruby only had two short months to get reacclimated to the high-performance environment and prepare to compete two duets and one team routine. Their technical ability and lines match exquisitely, and they’ve invested significant time and effort into improving their synchronization and execution since Worlds.
Free and Technical Team: Anita Alvarez, Megumi Field, Ruby Remati, Jaime Czarkowski, Dani Ramirez, Calista Liu, Jacklyn Luu & Audrey Kwon
Acrobatic Team: Anita Alvarez, Megumi Field, Bill May, Jaime Czarkowski, Dani Ramirez, Calista Liu, Jacklyn Luu & Audrey Kwon
At the Pan American Games, only nine athletes can be utilized across the three team categories, with eight total swimmers competing in each event. The competition within the squad was extremely tight to secure these nine spots, and the coaching staff selected the athletes to represent the stars and stripes in Santiago.
WHAT’S ON THE LINE?
Continental qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
One team and one duet will qualify in Santiago. The duet for the country that wins team will automatically earn a Paris bid, so if the gold medals in team and duet go to the same country, the silver medal duet will punch their ticket to Paris as well. The US hasn’t secured continental artistic swimming qualification since the 2007 Pan American Games, with Canada earning the quota for the past three editions of the Pan American Games. Unable to qualify through the other avenues, US hasn’t been represented in team at the Olympics since 2008. The primary goal for the senior national team this quad is to return a team to the Olympic Games in 2024.
The Pan American teams that miss qualification in Santiago will have another opportunity to qualify at the 2024 World Championships in both duet and team.
WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE?
Tuesday, October 31st: Duet Technical (1:00 p.m. local , 9:00 a.m. PT) & Team Technical (9:00 p.m. local, 5:00 p.m. PT)
Thursday, November 2nd: Duet Free (1:00 p.m. local , 9:00 a.m. PT) & Team Free (9:00 p.m. local, 5:00 p.m. PT)
Friday, November 3rd: Acrobatic Team (2:00 p.m. local, 10:00 a.m. PT)
All events will be streamed on the Pan Am Sports Channel.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY?
In 2019 and 2015 the U.S. won double bronze medals. In 2011, the team was able to secure silver in team and duet. Prior to that, the U.S. owns 20 total gold medals and seven total silver medals. The American artistic swimmers, formerly synchronized swimmers, solidified themselves as the dominant trailblazers in the sport early on and were the team to watch out for. The program was unable to continue that dominance in recent years when it became harder to keep artistic swimmers training full time with the national team with many athletes electing to go to college or retire from the sport early. That all changed when Andrea Fuentes came to town and turned the program around. This event is largely being hyped as the event where she will see all her risks and hard work pay off.
WHO ARE THE BIGGEST COMPETITORS TO WATCH OUT FOR?
Historically, the United States’ biggest continental rivals, particularly in team, are Canada and Mexico. Canada has taken the gold medal in both team and duet in 2019, 2015 and 2011. Mexico snagged double silvers at the last two editions of the games and Brazil has also made a few appearances on the podium.
The United States is undefeated in team against all three of these countries so far this year. With that being said, the new scoring system means anything can happen, but the United States has had consistently impressive showings of difficult routines the entire season. The coaching staff and athletes have capitalized on the high risk, high reward system and not only became a Pan American powerhouse in the rankings this season, but a team consistently in medal contention against global talents.
While the focus is largely on team, Mexico’s senior duet has stayed together for several Olympic Games and always competes with great energy. Canada is debuting a new duo utilizing its standout soloist from the season. Remati and Field will look to capitalize on their high difficulty capability in the duet category as well and improve the synchronization errors from World Championships.
WHAT ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS?
- Bill May becomes the first male ever to represent the United States in artistic swimming at a Pan American Games
- Three athletes are Pan American Games veterans (Anita Alvarez, Ruby Remati and Dani Ramirez). Alvarez and Remati are bronze duet medalists from 2019 and all three secured the bronze in team that same year
- Megumi Field, who just turned 18 years old, is one of the youngest members of the team and the only athlete competing in all five events for USA
- The experience and average age of this squad is much higher than the last Pan Am outing in Lima, the team has trained together longer and are looking for results to match the investment
- The squad won its first team World medal in 16 years at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka. The 2023 Pan Am team will be looking to secure the first gold since 2007
- If Anita Alvarez helps the team qualify and then competes in Paris, she will become the first three-time artistic swimming Olympian in the sport’s history