Canada Suspends National Team Training
- In case you missed it, Canadian media reported on October 1 that Canada Artistic Swimming closed its Montreal national training centre until further notice amid investigation into abuse and harassment. The investigation was prompted by a series of emails complaining of incidents of abuse the organization was unwilling to recognize. The emails allege that harassment and abuse has been occurring since January 2019.
- The French Canadian press revealed that the last straw seemed to have occurred a few days prior, after an incident involving head coach Gabor Szauder. Some swimmers complained to the federation they heard offensive comments about the Black, LGBTQ and Muslim communities.
- The emails, including some by club coaches, also targeted the federation for promoting a culture of fear and forcing the athletes to stay quiet on the matter. Overall, the allegations are targeting the head coach, the federation, and its leadership.
- A few former national team athletes took this opportunity to share their own stories of abuse and harrassment on social media: Janelle Ball (2012-2017), Gabriella Brisson (2013-2017), Marie-Lou Morin (2009-2017), Erin Willson (2007-2012). Former high-level artistic swimmer Genevieve Peel also shared her story on her blog.
- The official statement from the federation, published on October 2, is available here. This is an ongoing story and investigation. The athletes are for now training separately in clubs.
Chinese Nationals Recap (and the drama of fitness tests)
All newsletter subscribers can skip this one as this was already discussed two weeks ago (subscribe here!).
- The Chinese National Championships were held from September 25-27 in Wuhan (!), and we finally got high-quality footage from it.
- The biggest controversy of the competition was the absence of the Olympian duet Huang Xuechen and Sun Wenyan from the free duet event. The two actually couldn’t swim there because they failed at one of the newly implemented standardized fitness tests by the General Administration of Sport of China.
- Across the board (even chess players!), athletes must take a fitness test including various exercises. They will ultimately receive points and a ranking. If they don’t score high enough, then they are not allowed to compete in finals at their nationals. This new rule has already caused quite a stir in swimming, athletics, and gymnastics where the women’s vault final only had five competitors because of this.
- The test that Huang and Sun failed consisted of sitting down with their legs straight up in front. They must stretch forward, and their hands must pass their feet by 40cm. Huang, a five-time Olympic medalist, admitted in the Chinese media that it was quite hard for her as she has very long legs. Huang and Sun could only swim in technical duet as a result, and thus were not eligible for an official ranking, which combined technical and free scores.
- Twins Wang Qianyi and Wang Liuyi ultimately became national champions in the duet event. It was fantastic to see Wang Liuyi back in the pool, as she’s been missing from the international stage since 2018 because of an injury. Wang Qianyi had originally been selected for the 2020 Olympic team back in January, but word on the street is that the selection might happen again since the Olympics have been pushed back. Wang Liuyi intends to make it this time.
- Three-time World Champion Anastasiia Arkhipovskaia has retired from the Russian team due to an injury. She is also a two-time European champion, and competed at the 2016 FINA Junior World Championships and the 2015 European Games.
- Daniela Reinhardt from Germany is also hanging up her suit due to an injury. She explains she cannot go on one more year because of a herniated disc. Reinhardt was part of Germany’s duet alongside Marlene Bojer since 2017. She swam at the 2017 and 2019 FINA World Championships, as well as the 2014 and 2018 European Championships.
- Canada’s Sion Ormond retired from synchro on September 16. She was a member of the senior national team from 2018 to 2020.
It’s That Time of the Year: Training Camps!
- Like the last two years, Ukraine is again soaking up the sun at the Gloria Sports Arena in Turkey.
- Stephan Miermont held a training camp with the Austrian duet (Anna Maria, Eirini and Vasiliki Alexandri), in Slovakia’s x-bionic swimming pool, where Slovakia’s duet also trains at. That was until the country decided to close the swimming pools again, today. The Alexandri sisters and Miermont are now back in Austria for the remainder of the camp.
Six Months Later
- While Slovakia is back out of the water, Chile‘s national team is back in after being out for six months! The athletes, most in the junior category, are gearing up for the 2021 Junior Pan American Games in Colombia.
- Silvia Solymosyova, member of Slovakia‘s mixed duet, has gone viral for her short synchro videos on TikTok. She appeared extensively in major international media like Good Morning America, Yahoo Sports, El Pais, or People Magazine, as well as local news platforms in English, Spanish, Greek, French, or even Turkish. She now has one million followers on the social media platform.
- Russia is back to training after a few weeks of vacation, and it’s time to show off barracudas. Svetlana Romashina went for a variation of a classic barracuda split, while Aleksandr Maltsev went for two in a row, finishing off with a beautiful spin.
- Team USA posted a short clip of a hybrid in its Robots free team routine. More, please?
- South Korea is looking for a female head coach for its national team. All job details here.
Article by Christina Marmet
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