The 2016 Mediterranean Cup (COMEN Cup) is held in Netanya, Israel from July 21-24. This yearly competition is the biggest international meet for the 13-15 age group division and is welcoming over 27 countries for this year’s edition.
The meet is divided into two categories: Open and COMEN. The COMEN Cup was originally created to group all countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, but it eventually opened its doors to any countries wanting to participate. The Open rankings will rank every competitor entered in the competition, while the COMEN rankings will only be for these countries around the Mediterranean. For example, Russia and Japan will only be ranked in the Open category, while Italy and France will appear in both the Open and COMEN ones. This also means they may get multiple medals. If Italy places first in the COMEN rankings and third in the OPEN, they will get a gold and a bronze medal.
The meet is always hosted by one of the COMEN countries. The COMEN rankings are always fun and allow for synchro nations that would rarely get a shot at the podium to possibly win a medal. The qualification procedure to finals is eight COMEN routines with four non-COMEN.
This year’s participants are: Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, USA.
In the Open category, Russia is expected to dominate yet again. Their young superstar Varvara Subbotina will be competing at this meet, alongside another promising 2001 swimmer Tatiana Gayday. The two were already Russia’s duet at last year’s COMEN Cup in Ostia, Italy, presenting a beautiful program to Swan Lake. Subbotina is already having a stellar season competing in the Junior category and winning three golds at the Jr. Europeans and four at the Jr. Worlds. She will undoubtedly dominate this competition as well.
While the entry list has not been released yet, we should expect Belarus‘ Vasilina Khondoshka to make some waves and possibly be on the podium in figures and solo. Just like Subbotina, Khondoshka has been swimming in the junior category so far this season and has had fantastic results, recently placing eighth at Jr. Worlds in solo and seventh in figures, a pretty remarkable feat for such a young swimmer.
Liechtenstein is continuing its slow but steady rise in the synchronized world and continues to enter big international meets. Last year in Ostia, now junior soloist Lara Mechnig had fantastic results, placing sixth in solo and upsetting a few synchro powerhouses like Canada or the U.S. They will look to repeat these results this year with Marxer Leila and Dominique Eggenberger.
Japan does not attend this meet very often, so it should be interesting to see which event they enter and where they rank in this age group category. Their synchronized swimming program has been on the uprise over the last few years, so it is very possible the Japanese team will be looking for medals here.
Sadly, one of last year’s best finishers Canada doesn’t seem to be attending the competition this year.
In the COMEN category, Spain, Italy, Greece and France will likely battle for medals. We should expect Ukraine to be right in the mix, but they had only sent a solo and a duet last year and both had surprisingly disappointing figures results and missed qualifying to finals. As mentioned previously, the entry list has not been published so it is not possible to confirm which events Ukraine is entering.
All schedule, results and live stream information is available on the competition’s page.