Senior National TeamNews

TEAM USA: 2x World Medalists, a Ticket Punched to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, and 2nd Best Artistic Swimming Team in the World

by USA Artistic Swimming, Kennedy Shriver

Adam Pretty

February 9th, 2024, on the final day of the World Aquatic Championships in Doha, Qatar Team USA made history by sealing their spot in the first Olympic Games the organization has seen since 2008. The ending to what seems like to be a fairytale for the United States is only a chapter of the journey this team has had to face to receive this outcome. 

November 3rd, 2023, is another date less worth celebrating for the senior national team but is a crucial part of their story to the pathway to Paris. At the Pan American Games USA performed well, returning to the states with two silver medals, however falling short of Olympic Qualification by .6638. 

The disappointment was apparent, but the stars and stripes put their heads down and went to work with the mindset of never having to experience that feeling again. 

Exactly three months later USA takes the stage at their next Olympic Qualiflyer in Doha, Qatar at the 2024 World Aquatic Championships opening with their Acrobatic Routine in the preliminary rounds. 

During the preliminary swim USA received a base mark on their final element. After the obvious error, fans could hear swimmers Daniella Ramirez and Nikki Dzurko yelling at the team “Again, again!” The athletes improvised and performed their earlier ‘failed’ element once again in hopes that judges would remove the base mark they had previously received. Unfortunately, the judges had already submitted their scores, therefore the second attempt was not accepted. However, the team still landed in the top 12 with a score of 220.0534 to advance to the finals taking place the following day. 

As if the previous evening wasn’t exciting enough, early the next morning USAAS staff faced challenges regarding the team’s official roster for the Acrobatic Finals that would threaten their eligibility within the competition. Although the team had to make sudden and last-minute adjustments, the athletes did not let this news startle their spirits. USA swam a clean routine finishing with a score of 242.2300 receiving their full credit of declared difficulty of 24.600 climbing the rankings and placing them on the podium with a bronze medal. 

After setting the bar high after the Acrobatic Routine, the team walked into the Technical Routine preliminaries with similar expectations. USA’s Michael Jackson Routine landed fourth place behind China, Japan, and Spain receiving a score of 273.2900 sending them to the finals. The team held their fourth-place finish after the finals, swimming a base-mark free routine positioning them in 1st place in the Olympic Qualification standings after the 5th day of competition. 

The United States felt confident going into their last two swims with their highly difficult Free Routine, but remained focused on competition, not letting the pathway to Paris out of their sight. In the preliminary swim, USA finished with a clean swim and a score of 305.229 and taking 4th place behind China, Japan, and Spain.  

On February 9th, 2024, on the final day of the World Aquatic Championships in Doha, Qatar Team USA not only received their 2nd World Medal, officially declared as the 2nd best artistic swimming team in the world, but also qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympic games for the first time since 2008. 

Head Coach Andrea Fuentes reflects on the team’s story-book journey to Olympic Qualification, “The pain of not qualifying at the Pan Am Games was the best thing that could happen to us, we used it as fuel to become stronger. It felt so much better to qualify on the world stage where we could really earn the spot in a universal way.” 

Fuentes continues, “When I first came to the U.S. I thought it would be very hard to excel internationally as the US system at that time did not allow us to have the same team for more than two years in a row. This is unthinkable in high level teams. With Lara, Victor, and of course Adam, we really explored all the possibilities. The question changed from ‘is this even possible’ to ‘how are we going to make this happen?’ and we have the answer now.” 

In the 40th Anniversary of the first Artistic Swimming Event performed in the Olympic Games, the United States of America is proud to be one of the ten countries represented at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games alongside Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, China, and Spain. 

Along with the exciting Olympic Qualification, male soloist Kenny Gaudet also had performances worth remembering at his 2nd World Aquatic Championship appearance. The Technical preliminary event took place on the first day of competition for the male soloist, where Gaudet secured his spot in the finals taking place the next morning. Improving his score by nearly 35 points landing in 7th place Technical Routine.  

With two swims under his belt, Gaudet comes out strong in the Men's Solo Free category finishing in 4th place with 159.7918 points receiving no base marks. Going into the final Gaudet utilized his practice time in-between the preliminary event and final event to increase his difficulty from a declared 26 to 30.4500. The young and determined athlete, once again, swam clean and was successful in improving his score to 166.6250 in the finals, finishing at 5th in the world. 

Athletes that contributed to the team qualification include Anita Alvarez, Jaime Czarkowski, Nikki Dzurko, Audrey Kwon, Megumi Field, Keana Hunter, Calista Liu, Jacklynn Luu, Bill May, Daniella Ramirez, Ruby Remati and Natalia Vega. 

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“This team is the chosen one. This is the team that any coach would love to have. I am truly blessed and thankful."
Head Coach Andrea Fuentes

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