Maureen Croes, FINA Media Committee member

The seventh stop of the 2019 FINA Artistic Swimming World Series officially opened on May 30 in Quebec City, Canada. If the first four events are any indication of what is to come over the next days, then we can be sure that this leg will be exciting and display a high level of Artistic Swimming. The solo technical event, first on the programme, saw eight soloists vying for spots on the podium. Japan's Yukiko Inui, performing her Miracle Star themed routine, was indeed the "star" of this event.

Winning her third ASWS gold medal in the Solo technical event with a 91.6105, Yukiko shared: “I noticed, while swimming, that I made some small mistakes, which I will be working on during the training camp that I will be attending in preparation for the World Championships in Korea.”

Hometown favorite Jacqueline Simoneau achieved 89.3814, her highest score yet in the ASWS and claimed the silver medal. Simoneau on being in Canada and the expectations for the events: “It feels great to be home, swimming in front of your home crowd, swimming in front of people that I know, my family. There is absolutely no added pressure, it makes it ten times more fun. We are definitely stepping up our performances compared to previous legs, we put a lot of technical work, perfecting the movements and I am hopeful that that will reflect in our swims this week.”

The fight for the bronze medal was a fierce one, but in the end Colombia's Monica Arango was able to secure that third spot on the podium. With a score of 78.6503, Arango edged out Germany’s Marlene Bojer and Korea's Riyoung Lee.

This is Arango’s second bronze medal in the ASWS: “I feel very happy because really this solo is a very big strength of mine, I expected a little higher score, that is true, but I believe that everything is a process. The first time that I swam the solo at the international level was at the last World Championships. So, I think what needs to happen to continue improving, is to ask the judges what things we can correct to be able to continue advancing in terms of the scores.”

Next up was the much-anticipated Technical duet event featuring the comeback of China's Xuechen Huang & Wenyan Sun. This is the pair’s first International meet after returning to the competition pool following a three-year break. They did not disappoint their fans and supporters that were present in big numbers in the Desjardins Aquatic Centre. Achieving a 92.8049 and the top of the podium, the pair was all smiles after their routine.

“We are very happy to be back, very happy with how we swam and the score we received. The training sometimes is very hard to get used to again, but this is worth it.”

Japan's while earning their highest score in the ASWS to date, a 91.7778, settled for the silver medal. The Canadian pair also achieving their highest score for theses series claimed the bronze medal. Just of the podium, but with a dramatic increase in score, since their last performance in Greece, the Dutch duet, twin sisters Noortje en Bregje de Brouwer could not have been more thrilled: “We are super happy; we have achieved our personal best in the technical routine. We were feeling very positive all day and we knew what we were supposed to be doing. We were ready to show what we could do, and we did it.”

The second gold medal for China in the evening’s competition was secured by the Mixed Technical Duet Yayi Zhang & Haoyu Shi. The Chinese pair topped the podium for the first time in the ASWS with a personal best score, 84.0853.

Explaining the theme of their routine, swum to Run Londinium from the King Arthur Movie Soundtrack: “We feel very good about our routine; it is about 2 angry dragons that can go into the water and together they become unstoppable.”

The Mixed Duet from Kazakhstan Aigerim Issayeva & Olzhas Makhanbetiyarov pocketed the silver medal by achieving 72.0954, also a personal best score. Kazakhstan’s Head Coach Ainur Kerey-Baimakhanova was pleased: “After what happened last week in America during the routine, I am happy that they were able to do good and even achieve their best score. They have only been swimming together for five months, and there is still a lot of room for improvement.”

In the final event of the evening, the Technical Team event, China was the last to show case their routine. The team from China had the spectators mesmerized as they performed their “Chasing Dreams” themed routine. The routine was intense, powerful and unexpectantly surprising at times, earning them top honours with a 93.5677 score.

Head Coach Wang Jie: “They had a good performance today; we are very satisfied. They worked really hard, and we could feel and see that. After this competition, we will build on this and move to the next step.”
With an 87.7736, the silver medal went to the team routine from Canada. The

Canadians showcasing their superior technical skills to a contemporary version of traditional Hungarian music, have won the silver medal in each of the four ASWS stops they have participated in. The team from Hungary closed out the podium and won their second bronze medal by achieving 75.7132.

The programme for the next two days in Quebec City (CAN):

Friday May 31
17:30 Duet Free
18:45 Mixed Duet Free
19:30 Team Free

Saturday June 1
16:30 Solo Free
16:15 Combo
17:15 Highlight Team
18:30 Gala Exhibition