Game Time: FINA Super Final and Olympic Games Qualifier Preview
by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming
HOW TO WATCH
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - This weekend marks the biggest competition for our senior national team in perhaps twelve years, as the team has the most probable chance of qualifying for the Olympic Games since 2008. The potential of this squad has been illustrated through several successful showings at competitions across the world, and virtually, in the past few years. USAAS fans watched as they increased their scores, dialed up the difficulty and represented the stars and stripes with tenacity and grace throughout the hardships the past year has brought. Now, it is time for the senior squad to have their moment to shine.
Two events will be happening this weekend, both in Barcelona: the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series Super Final (WSSF) and the Artistic Swimming Olympic Games Qualification Tournament (ASOGQT). Scores from the qualification tournament will also count towards the Super Final standings. To view the full schedule of events, click HERE.
In total, 10 teams and 22 duets will have the honor of competing for medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to be held in just under two months. Seven teams and 12 duets have already formally secured their spots through various competitions and continental qualifiers. For more in-depth information about the qualification process for artistic swimming, read the preview from Inside Synchro HERE.
FINA ARTISTIC SWIMMING WORLD SERIES SUPER FINAL
The tech solo competition will take place at 11:10 a.m. ET on Thursday, June 10th. This will mark Nikki’s third time competing her elegant solo to “Imagine”. She secured a gold medal at the USA leg of the World Series earlier this year.At noon ET on Friday, June 11th, Anita will take the pool to compete in the free solo category. She has placed second with the solo twice this year, finishing just behind Canada’s Jaqueline Simoneau.
Finally, the whole squad will compete in the highlight portion of the event that will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET on June 12th.
OLYMPIC GAMES QUALIFICATION TOURNAMENT
This might be the most exciting event for the artistic swimming community in over a year. France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, South Korea, Spain and our very own USA are competing for the final three team allotments.While Spain and Italy are likely to grab the first two based on scores earned previously and resume of the athletes, there are three likely contenders for the final team slot at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Competition will be a tight race between USA, Greece and France and there has been much hype leading up to this face-off. The team portion of the qualification tournament will take place first, with USA’s brand-new tech team routine debuting at 9:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, June 10th. The squad will then take the pool on Friday, June 11th to showcase the infamous Robot routine at 9:00 a.m. ET. The two scores will determine if the team travels to Japan to represent the United States in the team category for the first time since 2008. Results will be posted to our social media as they become available.
The duet category will see representation from Anita Alvarez and Lindi Schroeder. Every team at the Olympics also receives automatic qualification in the duet category. If the team is announced to have qualified on June 11th, the USA pair will be swimming solely for Super Final scores. If the team does not qualify, Lindi and Anita are favorites to secure a spot in Tokyo on their own. They’ve had fabulous showings of both routines this year, improving their scores from the USA leg of the World Series by 1.2 and 1.4 and are undefeated on the year.
WHAT THE TEAM IS SAYING
Anita Alvarez, the most senior member of the squad, echoed similar sentiments: “The focus right now is on day one and that is the technical program. We’ve created choreography that we can really own and we have worked tirelessly over the past year to improve our elements and execution. We feel so confident in the preparation from our coaches and in each other as teammates. We’re ready to show the world what this young, powerful group is capable of.”