Artistic Swimming World Cup Circuit Gets Underway in Beijing

The season gets back underway tomorrow in Beijing, with the first stop of the 2024 World Aquatics Artistic Swimming World Cup. About 100 athletes representing 14 countries have traveled to China, with only four sending full teams. The others have opted to either give their junior athletes competition experience, and/or to focus on the solo and duet events.

This competition will be the first where the most recent rule changes will be applied — meaning, the cap on the number of Thrusts and Rotations in free hybrids. As a reminder, it is now only possible to declare movements in the R5 – R9 families and T5 – T9 families a maximum of three times per technique, per hybrid.

Since the Doha World Championships two months ago, coaches and athletes have had to change strategies and revisit their routines. The countries competing in Beijing will be the first to test out these changes.


Of the countries qualified to the Paris Games, Australia, China and Israel are set to compete in the famous “Water Cube”, stage of the 2008 Olympic Games, eager to fine-tune their routines in this crucial Olympic year.

The host China, a powerhouse in artistic swimming for the last two decades, is a must-watch across every event. Unsurprisingly, the Chinese have come in droves at this competition, with 21 athletes entered, the most of any country. The World Championships athletes will however only appear in the free team event, where they are the reigning World Champions. Indeed, the squad is still working on adjusting the other routines to the new difficulty limits.

“There were some new changes to the rules recently,”  said head coach Zhang Xiaohuan. “We need time to understand and rebuild our original routines. On the other hand, it is a great opportunity for our young swimmers to show off and to learn from other elite swimmers at the World Cup.”

The nation is entered across all 11 events and will get to showcase some new talent. Fellow members of the senior national team training squad, as well as a few of the top junior and youth athletes will swim at this meet, eager to gain competitive experience in a pressure environment, particularly in front of a home crowd.

Xu Huiyan, 18, who won bronze in the technical solo in Doha, will compete here in the solo, duet and team events. Notably missing are reigning World Champions Shi Haoyu and Yang Shuncheng. However, two younger male artistic swimmers will make their international debut in the solo and mixed duet events: 15-year-old twins Guo Muye and Guo Muxi.

Besides China and Australia, Hong Kong and Kazakhstan are the only other nations in Beijing who will compete in the team events. The latter is fresh off great success at the Asian Age Group Championships. World Champions Nargiza Bolatova and Eduard Kim are also set to appear in the technical mixed duet event. The nation will once again have three men entered in this competition, with Viktor Druzin and Artur Maidanov swimming alongside Kim. 

The Hong Kong squad is only composed of junior athletes. Similarly, Great Britain, Italy, Mexico and Spain, have all sent junior athletes to this World Cup, surely looking to gain experience before the World Junior Championships later this summer, or the European Junior Championships in a few months.

Additionally, Spain is also sending its mixed duet squad to the competition, and should unveil new pairings. With Dennis Gonzalez Boneu out and recovering from a recent lower arm surgery, current junior national champion Jordi Caceres will make his international debut. Veteran Emma Garcia will compete with him in the technical mixed duet, marking her return after she missed the Doha World Championships because of a lingering back pain.

Kyra Hoevertsz and Mikayla Morales of Aruba are also bound to compete in Beijing. This duet has shown great progress in Doha already, and is actually the “reserve pair” for the Paris Olympics in case any qualified National Olympic Committee decides to give up its spot. 

Finally, World bronze medalist Vasilina Khandoshka, competing under the Neutral Individual Athlete banner, returns to the World Cup circuit. After her World Championships performances and memorable strategic choices, she surely will be one to keep an eye on in Beijing.

Other individuals and World Championships soloists include Pinja Kekki of Finland, Marloes Steenbeek of the Netherlands and Viktoria Reichova of Slovakia. Reichova is joined by teammates Chiara Diky and Lea Anna Krajcovicova, who should appear in the duet events as well.

All the information you need to follow this World Cup is available at this page, which will be updated regularly throughout the competition.


Cover photo: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia

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