The stage is set in Oviedo, Spain, for the 2023 Artistic Swimming World Cup Super Final. Starting on Friday, 22 nations will compete in this final leg of the inaugural World Cup circuit.
Numerous World and European champions and medalists highlight the field of competitors across all 11 events. Undoubtedly, everyone will have modified their routines and upped their Degrees of Difficulty (DD) since their last outings either in Montpellier or Soma Bay.
After a season debut in Montpellier, China’s senior squad returns in Oviedo, most notably in the technical and acrobatic team events. Both routines are must-watch, showcasing great speed, technical skills, and execution. The acrobatic team to the theme of “Light of Life”, and with a musical choice drastically different from what we’ve come to expect from the nation, was undoubtedly the biggest crowd pleaser at the French World Cup. The mixed duet of Shi Haoyu and Cheng Wentao is also set to compete in the free event for the first time this season.
Spain has called up both its junior and senior squad to Oviedo, and will compete in all 11 events. The senior team will feature across all technical events like it has already done so throughout the season. Fans can also expect Iris Tio to perform her new free solo routine for the first time. She should also debut a new choreography as well in the free duet event alongside Alisa Ozhogina.
The junior team will swim in the free event, while the same athletes (a mix of seniors and the top juniors) who already competed in the Markham World Cup will appear again in the acrobatic team event. Finally, Dennis Gonzalez should slowly return after missing out on the last two World Cup with a foot injury. He is for now poised to compete in the mixed duet and men’s solos.
Ukraine is entered in its usual events, but will notably compete in the free team for the first time this season. The nation always remains one to watch in the acrobatic team, coming in as the reigning World and European champions and after winning gold in Markham and Montpellier.
France, Canada, Israel and Kazakhstan will also participate through the same events we’ve seen them in so far this season. All round up the field for the team events. Canada and Israel last competed in Montpellier, although the latter had to scratch a few routines there. The Israeli squad should be back to full strength in Oviedo, with Ariel Nassee returning to both the duet and team routines. France and Kazakhstan last competed in Soma Bay a few weeks ago; the latter entered across all 11 events once more.
Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Portugal and Uzbekistan complete the women’s duet field. Uzbekistan’s Diana Onkes and Ziyodakhon Toshkhujaeva have competed across all three World Cup legs this season, and have gone all in on the difficulty. They last recorded a 33.4 DD in Soma Bay in the free event, the highest duet DD of that competition, which propelled them to fourth place.
Maryna and Vladyslava Aleksiiva from Ukraine will be two to keep an eye on as they undoubtedly look to put their last outing in the technical duet, which led to a 19th-place finish, really (really) far behind them.
The pairs from Spain, France and the Netherlands have been quite close at the last two World Cups, so keep an eye on this dynamic as well. The Dutch Bregje de Brouwer and Marloes Steenbeek have been slowly but surely going up the rankings, both by increasing their DDs and by receiving some of the highest artistic impression marks in the free duet with their “Werewolves” routine.
And of course, never count out Israel’s Shelly Bobritsky and Ariel Nassee, who won gold at the Markham World Cup in the technical event with their “Gypsy Dance” routine. The two haven’t competed together internationally since, with Nassee being sick and missing out on the Montpellier leg.
Belgium, Colombia, Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Serbia make up the mixed duet field. While we’ve seen all of these pairs throughout the year, Great Britain’s Beatrice Crass and Ranjuo Tomblin are set to unveil their new free routine in Oviedo. Tomblin will also appear in the men’s free solo for the first time this year.
Representing Italy, Ginevra Marchetti and Gabriele Minak are fresh off winning the Italian Junior Summer National Championships a few days ago. They will compete in the free mixed duet event like we’ve seen them do in Montpellier and Soma Bay. Teammate Filippo Pelati will compete in the men’s free solo, an event he also just won at the national championships. Pelati will be the youngest of the men’s solo field in Oviedo.
The women’s solo events will be highlighted by two-time World champion Inui Yukiko, who will be Japan’s sole athlete in Oviedo. Similarly, Austria, Georgia, Slovakia will only be represented in these events, with Valentina Strahsberger, Maria Alavidze and Viktoria Reichova, respectively. Reichova, bronze medalist in free solo in Montpellier, is the only soloist to have competed in both events across all three World Cup legs this season. Germany‘s Marlene Bojer, bronze medalist in Soma Bay, and Michelle Zimmer, will also participate in the solo events.
Much like the duet, Ukraine’s Marta Fiedina, reigning World silver medalist and European champion, will be one to watch in the free solo as she looks to bounce back from her sixth-place finish (and four base marks) in Montpellier.
The competition starts on Friday, June 2, with the technical solo events. All the information on how to follow the meet is available here.
ARTICLE BY CHRISTINA MARMET
Cover photo: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia
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