We have barely had time to catch up on the latest competition in Slovakia that the next one on the FINA World Series circuit is about to get started in Budapest, Hungary. This meet is shaping up to be an exciting and close competition as many of the top European teams – Russia, Spain, Italy and Ukraine – are flocking to the Duna Arena.
Yes, you read that correctly, Russia is sending its full senior team again to an international competition! Thank you for not hiding away from everybody this season. We can expect the squad to be much the same as in Paris, except we may see more of 2016 Olympian Maria Shurochkina. In March, the Russians only competed in the technical team event, and they will look to improve on their 93.6476, which by Russian standards is just not acceptable. This time around, they are also expected to swim their free routine, likely the same one they presented at the world championships last year.
Additionally and according to the Russian press, Varvara Subbotina will swim both technical and free solos. It looks like Kolesnichenko did not travel with the team, and the Hungarian federation reported that she missed training with ‘knee problems.’ Russia did not send its mixed duet to Budapest.
Ukraine is in Budapest with its full senior team, and appears to enter the same events as it did in Paris, which is everything except the mixed duet. We will once again likely also see both solos from Yelyzaveta Yakhno and Anastasiya Savchuk. It will be interesting to see if the Ukrainians have a new free team choreography already or not, as we just witnessed their junior team compete the same ‘Illusion’ routine in Slovakia.
Italy is poised to make its debut as a team, after having only been represented in the last few competitions by its duets and soloist. Linda Cerruti and Costanza Ferro are just coming off competing in Slovakia, but it will be thrilling to finally see what the Italians have been up to as a team since last year’s world championships. The roster is very much the same as it was last season, with the exception of Mariangela Perrupato who is taking a well-deserved break.
Spain will only compete in the free combination event like at the French Open, but this time without Ona Carbonell. Alisa Ozhogina is back on the squad however to take that spot. It’s unfortunate the Spanish won’t compete in the other team events, as it would have been a very exciting way to see how this squad under a new head coach matches up against the Italian team, but it looks like we will just have to wait a little longer.
Belarus will only be represented by its soloist Vasilina Khandoshka, who just takes no break after competing in Slovakia only a few days ago. The Austrian duet of Anna-Maria and Eirini Alexandri, and Greece‘s Evangelia Platanioti will be back out for the first time since the Japan Open. Vasiliki Alexandri will compete once again in the solo events; not taking time to rest after Slovakia much like Khandoshka.
Israel will also be there as a team, and will certainly look to replicate its historical results from Paris where it scored above 80 points in free team and free combination.
You can find all information about the competition here.