2016 Olympian Anita Alvarez and 2019 world team member Lindi Schroeder have been named the official duet for the U.S. for the upcoming season. The two will aim to qualify the nation in the event to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Anita Alvarez is a 2016 Olympian as she swam alongside Mariya Koroleva in the duet events in Rio, where they finished ninth. While Koroleva retired shortly thereafter, Alvarez stuck around for another quad, and is now looking to qualify to her second Olympics, this time around with 18-year-old Lindi Schroeder.
“There was a moment of initial disbelief because this selection is the result of an accumulation of everything I have learned and worked for in this sport,” Schroeder said. “This disbelief was soon replaced by the purest joy, amazement, and excitement. Seeing my teammates’ happiness for me meant the world to me. Anita was right next to me when I called both of my parents. These calls were very special, and I know that I will remember that feeling and that moment forever.”
Schroeder is no stranger to the international stage and has been a regular on the U.S. national team since the 13-15 category. She was the country’s soloist at the 2016 COMEN Cup and placed fourth overall, and also was a member of the junior team that same season that finished ninth at the FINA Junior World Championships.
On the senior team for the past two years, Schroeder had been moved up to the duet training squad in 2019. She competed in the free duet event with Alvarez at the Synchro America Open and the Spanish Open, while serving as the reserve for the technical duet all year.
She was however the alternate to both routines at the 2019 FINA World Championships and the Pan American Games, which were swam by Alvarez and Ruby Remati. The latter has now been named the alternate for the upcoming season.
“This duet has a very fast connection to make things work,” head coach Andrea Fuentes said. “They are both very mature and proactive. They complement each other a lot, so the strengths of one are different from the other one’s, and this will help make each other grow. Lindi has things that Anita doesn’t, and vice-versa, so they will learn from each other and evolve.”
This slight change in the duet composition with Schroeder moving out of the alternate position comes as a bit of a surprise, particularly after Alvarez and Remati were ultimately paired together at the two major international competitions of the 2019 season. They had also competed extensively together in 2018 in the world series circuit, albeit under a different coaching staff.
Head coach Andrea Fuentes, now heading into her second season at the helm of the team, recognized it was not an easy decision to make as all three athletes were in a tight race for just two spots. Indeed, no alternates are allowed at the Olympics, and the same two swimmers must compete in both duet events, which is a different rule than at the world championships where the technical and free duet routines can potentially be swam by entirely different pairs.
“This is the hardest moment for a coach and obviously it’s not different for me,” Fuentes said. “It was a shared decision, but I had to really think about it and trust my intuition and knowledge. Both [Remati and Schroeder] are really talented and they both have very different qualities. But I believe we need the strengths of Lindi, who has an extremely powerful mental talent, and I think will match better with the needs we have at the present moment for our duet. It’s a long term road and I’m sure great things will happen. Lindi and Anita will be a wonderful duet this summer and I believe in them.”
Naturally, the main goal for this pair will be to qualify to the Olympic Games through the Qualification Tournament from April 30 – May 3 in Tokyo. Remati will continue training with the duet, and be ready to step in if needed.