USA Crowned Super Final Champions

by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming

The national team recorded another successful finish at the FINA Artistic Swimming Super Final in Greece this weekend, bringing home two gold medals, three silvers and four bronzes. All ten of the routines recorded top-five finishes, including the five brand-new routines that debuted at the competition. Overall, USA secured the most medals of any country and ended at third place in the gold medal count.  
For soloists, Anita Alvarez ended silver in technical solo and bronze in free solo. Alvarez recorded a silver finish 2.26 behind Austria’s soloist and a bronze finish 2.3 behind Austria and 1.1 behind Spain. Now that Alvarez is able to ditch her crutches and spend increased time in the pool, she’ll have the next month to improve her figures and execution and work to close the point gap.  
Kenny Gaudet competed in solo for the first time, earning silver behind Spain’s Fernando Diaz Del Rio Soto in tech and bronze behind Spain and Italy, respectively. Since male solos are not included in World Championships, Kenny will have the next month to focus on mixed duet and prepare his solos for next year’s competition circuit.  
In the female duet category, USA debuted a new technical routine from a Ukrainian singer. Megumi Field paired with Dani Ramirez to secure a silver medal in their first-ever outing together. They finished just a half of a point behind the pair from Netherlands. Field and Ramirez actually edged the second-place pair in execution and tied them in impression. However, elements were the difference maker with Field and Ramirez only swimming together for a short period of time. They fell behind in the category by .6 to secure them a third-place finish. The free duet, previously undefeated, faced an increased level of competition at this meet and narrowly missed a medal. Natalia Vega and Field scored an 85.3000, just .5 away from Israel who took bronze. The difficulty category was the difference-maker here. Coaches and athletes will likely find ways to tweak the routine in the coming weeks to better highlight existing difficulty and find ways to potentially add to the choreography.  
The mixed duet category featured a new strategy for USA, having Claudia Colletti and Gaudet swim together for both routines. Gaudet and Colletti brought home one silver and one bronze medal for their efforts. Their free score decreased almost two points from the last competition while the technical routine stayed mostly consistent from previous contests. For free, Colletti and Gaudet ended about .5 behind Italy’s pair in execution, artistic impression and difficulty to account for the 1.5 point spread. In tech, they were able to narrow the gap behind Spain’s seasoned mixed duet pair in elements finishing just 1.2 behind Ribes and Garcia.  

The team routines were certainly highlights of the weekend. Both the Michael Jackson technical routine and the highlight cavepeople routine remain undefeated on the season. Most importantly, the routines remain undefeated against strong competitors. The team technical routine has outscored Canada and Israel. The highlight routine has edged Greece, Israel and Canada. The technical program was the only routine to score a season-best this weekend despite tougher judging, increasing their score from France by about .8.  
In a sport where federations often prefer to hide their routines before the largest competitions, the USA is hoping its strategy of participating in international competitions pays off next month at World Championships. With many different eyes on their routines, the team can now take the feedback and strategize how to maximize their score potential in Budapest. Changes will undoubtedly be made, as it is unclear how much the team will utilize two-time Olympian Alvarez following her recovery from foot surgery and Gaudet will not be permitted to compete in highlight. However, the team is on a path to success with morale high from both coaches and athletes.  

For full results, visit the FINA website HERE.

Photos Courtesty of Will Brenninkmeyer

8 photos

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