France and Spain Shine at European Youth Artistic Swimming Championships

Held in Athens, the third edition of the European Youth Artistic Swimming Championships highlighted both established and emerging talents in the sport. 

France and Spain emerged as powerhouses in this competition, each securing three gold and three silver medals, with France ultimately taking home a total of eight medals and Spain seven. Beyond the dominant performances from these two nations, the championships were also marked by historic achievements for Türkiye and Poland

In both women and men’s free solos, France was once again unbeatable and secured back-to-back European titles in this age group. As the reigning World Youth Champion, Romane Temessek came to Athens as a heavy favorite to claim yet another momentous title in the Greek capital. 

After a fourth-place finish in the preliminaries with two basemarks, the Frenchwoman still decided to slightly increase her Degree of Difficulty (DD) up to 32.15 from 31.95 for this final. Ultimately, the risk paid off as her routine set to “Hip Hop Violin Medley” by Josh Vietti scored 225.9771. After adding in her figures score, Temessek had a total of 306.4104, which was more than enough to secure the gold.


Gold was also on the cards for the boys thanks to Macéo Vanhee-Dedieu, who made his international debuts here in Athens. Even though he was the youngest competitor in the final, the 13-year-old already clearly showed boundless potential and a stellar career in the making. 

Displaying rapid rotations, great height, as well as a quality of movement, attention to detail, and glimpses of an artistry reminiscent of his mother, he was very impressive in his “Warriors” routine. He was credited his full DD of 30.15, the highest of the field, and won gold with a total of 290.7900. What’s more, he claimed another gold in the men’s figures, as he finished first amongst all male artistic swimmers and 18th overall out of 187 competitors.

Vanhee-Dedieu won another medal, a silver this time, alongside Carla Pusta in the free mixed duet with a combined score of 273.4104. The two, who have been swimming together for two years at the national level, were incredibly sharp and precise, never losing height or energy throughout the routine set to the upbeat cover of “Hit the Road Jack” by Throttle.

France also brought home two more medals in figures thanks to Charlise Beck (silver), and Timothy Dufour (bronze) in the men’s rankings. The French squad also claimed bronze in free duet thanks to a strong performance by Yaëlle Ayalon Jegoux and Apolline Guillot, as well as silver in free combination. In the latter, the country notably had three young men swim in the routine, a first for any nation on the international stage. Overall, France had traveled to Athens with four male artistic swimmers on its roster.


The future of Spain’s artistic swimming is just as bright. The nation grabbed gold in the free combination event with a score of 266.7168. The Spanish team swam first in the final and never let go of top spot after a great performance on their reworked version of the famous “Stairway to Heaven” choreography, which had won the senior team its first world title back in 2009.

Fresh from winning that gold the night before, Andriana Bjorklund and Lily-Lorna Gualtieri claimed their second European title, this time in the free duet. The two Spaniards, aged 14 and 15 respectively, had received a basemark in the preliminary round, but left no doubt in the minds of the technical controllers on Sunday. Performing a sharp and energetic “Secret Agents” choreography, they were credited with their full difficulty of 34.60, the highest of the final, and earned a combined score of 301.4148 for the gold.

A few minutes later, Aina Morral and Eneko Sanchez performed their hearts out in the free mixed duet final with their “Chicago” choreography to claim the European title with a combined score of 275.9083. While this was Morral’s first international competition, Sanchez was already a bronze medalist at the 2022 European Youth Championships as well as a runner-up at last year’s World Youth Championships in this event, albeit with different duet partners.

The day before, Sanchez had also secured silver in the free solo final with a 269.4688. Showing tremendous progress in his precise, dynamic, and assured performance, the 14-year-old was enthralling to watch in his “Anaconda” routine. After placing fourth in this event at both last European Youth and World Youth Championships, he was visibly thrilled to finally step up on that podium. 

Spain also won silver in the free team final, which was incredibly close with the top three teams finishing only 1.3271 points apart. The Spanish team had actually earned the third-highest routine score but moved up to second place thanks to its strong score in figures (77.2754 – the highest of the final). Finally, Sanchez also claimed silver in the men’s figures event, while Gualtieri won bronze in the figures as well.

Selin Hürmeriç made history when she became Türkiye’s first European champion in artistic swimming across any age group after claiming gold in figures with a massive 82.6909 (note that each athlete had to perform four figures in this competition). 

The 14-year-old has been doing artistic swimming for 10 years already and, although these were her first European Youth Championships, is no stranger to the international stage. Back in 2019 at age nine, Hürmeriç was already showing great talent and tremendous potential at the “Russian Matryoshka”, a big 12-and-Under international competition hosted in Russia around December, where she placed ninth out of 54 competitors in solo.

Last year, she also finished seventh in the free solo at the World Youth Championships and already put the world on notice. Besides her gold, Hürmeriç also placed fifth in free solo and eighth in free combination here in Athens.

This competition also marked a historical achievement for Poland, with Michalina Gnacek claiming the country’s first-ever medal on the European stage. With a score of 292.3430, the 15-year-old won bronze in free solo thanks to her strong performance in her “Witch” routine. Already a European and World finalist in 2022 and 2023, respectively, the Polish athlete has slowly but surely been making waves over the last few years in this age group. 

Overall, Poland was quite outstanding in this competition, climbing up the European ranks and showing it has a promising crop of artistic swimmers that is worth keeping an eye on. The Polish duet placed fifth in the final, closing in on the “typical” European powerhouses, while the mixed duet finished fifth as well and the team sixth overall, a two-place jump from the preliminaries.


Greece came away from this competition at home with four medals: two silvers and two bronzes. Overall, the Greek had opted to go for high-difficulty routines, always declaring either the highest or second-highest DD in each event. 

In free solo, crowd-favorite Ismini Maria Karavisili handled her difficult routine beautifully to claim silver with a total combined score of 302.1502 for her “Dolls” routine. Similarly, Karavisili and Ilektra Rapti had a great performance in their scary free duet routine set to the theme of “What’s Behind the Door?” The 15-year-olds had placed fifth in the preliminaries after being forced to count three basemarks. However, they managed everything in the final to win the silver medal in front of a delighted home crowd with a combined score of 296.0129.

In the mixed duet, Stylianos Koukouselis Fouskis and Danai Tsaprali brought home a bronze with a combined score of 262.7360 on their “War Tigers” routine. Finally in the free team, the Greek had declared a DD of 39.45 on their “Winter” routine, more than three points above the next-highest DD. It did give them a bit of a cushion as they still won bronze in the event while counting a basemark.

On the other hand, they had declared a massive DD of 47.075 in the free combination event, which was over six points ahead of the next country. This time, it was perhaps a bit too ambitious, and the risk didn’t pay off as the squad received three basemarks and had to settle for fourth. Besides France, Greece was the only other nation with a mixed team at these championships as Koukouselis Fouskis swam in the combo routine.

Italy earned its first and only gold medal of these championships in the free team event with a total combined score of 323.3829 for its “New World” routine. Bronze medalists in 2022, the Italians had finished third in the preliminaries round, but with a DD lowered by two basemarks. During Sunday’s final, they were credited with their full DD of 35.80 to claim the top spot, in what ultimately was a very close fight for the medals.

The Italians also earned bronze in free combination, while Andrea Garuti brought home a second bronze for the nation in the men’s solo thanks to a score of 214.7217 for his choreography set to “True Colors” by Cindy Lauper. This routine marked his first international appearance and as fate would have it, he was also the first male athlete to swim in Saturday’s final. Thankfully, the 14-year-old handled the pressure well to claim a spot on the podium.

Finally, these championships also marked the first time that Hungary presented a mixed duet in a major international competition across all age categories. At age 12, Matyas Benjamin Por and Izabel Lili Sores were the youngest of the field and placed seventh overall. 

It was also a significant moment for Estonia, who had entered a full team for the first time ever in a major international event, as well as for Slovenia who reached a European final for the first time thanks to the solid performance of Neza Krivec in solo.


Cover photo: Dimitris Mantzouranis / European Aquatics

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