Senior National Team Concludes 2022 Season

by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming

The senior national team wrapped up the 2021-2022 season last week with the final practice of the season. This season was the first that the squad called Los Angeles home and was filled with many record-breaking accomplishments signifying that the program is gaining momentum in the right direction. The senior team was dismissed to enjoy a few months of rest and recuperation while some junior-aged athletes will continue to train in preparation for the August Junior World Championships.

Overall, the team collected 20 medals after three World Series, one Super Final and a World Championship travelling to France, Greece and Hungary. Ten of those medals were gold thanks to incredible performances from the free duet, highlight team and technical team. Eleven new choreographies were created and debuted to the world. The routines will be adapted to maximize score potential within the new scoring system and allow for continued artistic development throughout the next season.

The squad consisted of Anita Alvarez, Natalia Vega, Megumi Field, Elizabeth Davidson, Keana Hunter, Kenny Gaudet, Dani Ramirez, Jaime Czarkowski, Yujin Chang, Ivy Davis, Emily Ding and Elisa Brunel. The team was challenged with continuing the rapid development of the USA national team program and did so, proving their elite mentality and limitless potential.

The team also welcomed some remote training athletes back to national team practice twice during the collegiate athletes’ summer break. Ruby Remati, Hannah Heffernan, Nikki Dzurko and Paige Areizaga were able to train under national team coaches in Los Angeles to strengthen the synergy between the remote training and in-person athletes. Three athletes from this year’s team, Davis, Chang and Ding, will depart the program and head to northern California to swim with Stanford and begin their collegiate careers. Two other athletes will join the remote training squad: Anita O’Neil (Stanford University) and Claire Kim (University of California-Los Angeles).

Not only did the average age of the team members increase this season, but the team also has an excellent retention rate. Just one athlete from the final free team roster will be heading off to college. Three incredibly talented athletes will join the program in the fall including Jacklyn Luu, from Stanford University and Audrey Kwon and Calista Liu from the La Mirada Aquabelles.

Next year’s team will have a busy season ahead of them with the World Series, Super Final, World Championships and Pan American Games. It will be a critical juncture that will determine the trajectory of the next few years ahead of Paris 2024. Roster spots for routines will be open, and the high level of talent within the team will make for an exciting journey. FINA recently announced that there will be no Olympic Games Qualification Tournament this year. Instead, quotas will be determined by continental championships and the 2024 World Championships. With just ten teams and 18 duets able to make it to Paris, the competition will be fierce.

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