2017 German Open Preview and Start Lists

The first big international competition of the season is finally upon us! While the German Open will not count towards the new FINA World Cup challenge, it is still slated to be an exciting competition as we get to discover a few of the new duets and national team rosters for this new quad. The 2017 German Open is held from March 3 – 5 in Bonn, Germany.

While the start lists for the technical routines (held on Friday, March 3) haven’t been posted yet, the ones for the free routines are available so we can already get a good idea of what to expect and who to watch for.

Something to keep our eyes out for will be the duel between the two Chinese duets that are likely vying to be considered to be the next national team duet (among others not competing here in Bonn). The Shanghai duet includes 2016 Olympian Tang Mengni and may be in a good position to win that spot. Tang’s partner Sun Yijing was not a part of the Olympic selection, but she has a wealth of international experience and has already competed at the World Championships and the Asian Games in the past. Now for their direct competition are 2008 and 2012 Olympians Jiang Ting Ting and Jiang Wen Wen. The twins are part of the older generation of synchronized swimmers and have recently been training with Anna Tarres in order to get back in shape and become contenders again. The twins left the national team in 2013 not in good terms, and amidst scoring controversies and favoritism rumors. However, they haven’t really left the sport and have continued swimming for their province of Sichuan since then, but they now want to make a push to be back on the national team, something that will be determined later on at Chinese Nationals in April. It will be interesting to see how they are received here, but mostly at home by the judges.

The duet podium is likely going to be played out between these two duets and Japan‘s duet of Yukiko Inui and Kanami Nakamaki. Both are 2016 Olympians, and Inui is the veteran of this team with plenty of experience on the world stage. We had already gotten glimpses of this new pair at the 2016 Asian Championships, and this strong duet should definitely contend for at least a medal here and likely gold, even though it is still early in the season.

Essentially every other nation is also introducing new duets. Great-Britain‘s Emma Critchley and Hannah Randall have been on the junior and senior scene for a while, and represented GB at the 2015 European Games and other European Championships. It’s a young duet, but it is thrilling to see GB betting on the new generation to climb back up the rankings. Argentina seems to be bouncing back nicely from the retirement of the Sanchez’ twins and is sending two duets to this meet, likely to determine which will represent the nation in Budapest. Liechtenstein‘s Lara Mechnig is back with her junior duet partner Marluce Schierscher, and Hungary‘s Szofi Kiss has a new partner. France is sending one of its younger duets with Camille Bravard and Margaux Chabirand. Both are in the junior category for the first year after successful results at the 2016 COMEN Cup, and they are now vying for the duet position for the international junior meets of the season. Switzerland will also have a few duets there represented by clubs. Keep an eye out for the Dauphins’ duet of Maxence Bellina and Maria Piffaretti which has represented the nation at the 2015 European Games and the 2016 Junior World Championships. This pair seems likely to be the next national team duet now that Sophie Giger has retired and Sascia Kraus is focusing on the solo.

On the other hand, nations like the Netherlands or Turkey have the luxury of keeping their same duets that we’ve seen in both the junior and senior meets over the last few years, with Bregje and Noortje De Brouwer for the Netherlands and Defne Bakirci and Misra Gundes for Turkey.

In mixed duet news, we will only see one here and it will be Germany‘s, with Amelie Ebert and Niklas Stoepel.

Free Duet Prelims – March 4 at 11am (local)
Start Order Nation Swimmers
1 Liechtenstein Lara Mechnig, Marluce Schierscher
2 Great Britain Emma Critchley, Hannah Randall
3 China (Shanghai) Tang Mengni, Sun Yijing, Huang Xuechen (R)
4 China (Sichuan) Jiang Ting Ting, Jiang Wen Wen
5 Switzerland (Lausanne) Gladys Jaccard, Melisande Jaccard
6 Argentina Camila Arregui, Trinidad Lopez Brasesco
7 France Camille Bravard, Margaux Chabirand, Laura Gonzalez (R)
8 Bulgaria Daniela Bozadzieva, Hristina Damyanova
9 Japan Yukiko Inui, Kanami Nakamaki
10 Bulgaria Michelle Hubner, Maria Kirkova
11 Poland Julia Mikolajczak, Swetlana Szczepanska
12 Switzerland (Limmat) Joelle Peschl, Sarina Weibel, Alyssa Thoni (R)
13 Argentina Juliana Danil, Brunella Neri
14 Finland Inka Hirsila, Sini Tuuli, Miia Makikallio (R)
15 Switzerland (Dauphins) Mazence Bellina, Maria Piffaretti
16 Hungary Sarolta Lukovszky, Alexandra Riemer
17 Hungary Szofi Kiss,  Annet Schwarcz, Janka David (R)
18 Netherlands Bregje De Brouwer, Noortje De Brouwer
19 Germany Marlene Bojer, Daniela Reinhardt
20 Turkey Defne Bakirci, Misra Gundes

The solo competition should be fun as well, with a good mix of known swimmers (Yukiko Inui, Lara Mechnig, Maxence Bellina, Defne Bakirci…) and new faces or nations that we don’t see much or at all, like Curacao!

Free Solo Prelims – March 4 at 2:30pm (local)
Start Order Nation Swimmers
1 Switzerland (SC Flos) Vivienne Koch
2 Finland Inka Hirsila
3 Switzerland (Dauphins) Maxence Bellina
4 Argentina Camila Arregui
5 Curacao Moramay Koomen
6 Germany Marlene Bojer
7 Turkey Defne Bakirci
8 Switzerland (Dauphins) Maria Piffaretti
9 Japan Yukiko Inui
10 Hungary Luca Renyi
11 Switzerland (Lausanne) Gladys Jaccard
12 Bulgaria Hristina Damyanova
13 Poland Julia Mikolajczak
14 Liechtenstein Lara Mechnig
15 Bulgaria Michelle Hubner
16 Germany Michelle Zimmer
17 Poland Swetlana Szczepanska
18 Switzerland (Solothurn) Christine Fluri

As expected, there won’t be many teams entering this meet. It’s very early in the season so many national teams are still rebuilding, trying to figure out their rosters and coming up with new routines. We will still get to watch Hungary and Turkey here in Bonn.

The free combination event will only feature one routine from China Shanghai’s province.

Free Team Finals – March 5 at 3:00pm (local)
Start Order Nation Swimmers
1 Hungary David, Kertai, Kizz, Lukovszky, Renyi, Riemer, Schwarcz, Thuroczy, Kassai (R), Kezdi (R), Pentek (R), Takacs (R)
2 Turkey Bakirci, Bulbul, Dicle, Gundes, Horasan, Onal, Tuncay, Turhan, Ulu, Yildiz
Article by Christina Marmet
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