Coming off a strong training camp in Spain, Canada’s Artistic Swimming team is ready to take part in its first in-person competition in over two years at the upcoming 2021 FINA Artistic Swimming World Series (ASWS) Super Final. The event, which will also serve as the Olympic Qualification Tournament, will be held at Piscina Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain, from June 10-13, 2021. The competitions will be held in a ‘bubble’ environment with strict COVID protocols in place.
The Olympic Qualification Tournament, originally to be held in Tokyo before it was cancelled, was recently added to the competition schedule. As a result, a strong field of athletes from 28 different countries who will go head-to-head to determine final World Series rankings, and also to decide who will fill the few remaining spots in the team and duet events at the Tokyo Olympics. Although athletes will perform their routines once, scores will count for both events for federations who are registered in both.
Canada, who has already qualified in duet and team by winning both events at the 2019 Pan American Games, will only be taking part in the Super Final component of the competition. Eleven team members, including the nine who were recently nominated to take part in the Tokyo Games, are in Barcelona for the event. They are scheduled to take part in the solo, duet, team and highlight routine events. In the shortened season, Canada’s only team appearance was in the Canadian leg of the Artistic Swimming World Series, held virtually, where they won gold in the Highlight Team event.
In the team events (technical and free), six countries are slated to compete in the Super Final component, including Spain and USA. Both of these countries will also be trying to qualify for the Olympics in the team event. They will be squaring off with, most notably, Italy, France and Greece for the three remaining Olympic spots in what promises to be an exciting and fierce competition.
The duet event features the most competitors, with 23 pairs challenging for the podium in the duet technical and 22 in the duet free. Canada’s Claudia Holzner and Jacqueline Simoneau took gold in both events at the in-person World Series event in Budapest, Hungary back in April and will be looking to top the podium again in Spain.
In the Solo event, Jacqueline Simoneau will compete against 11 others in the Solo Technical, and 13 other athletes in the Solo Free. She comes into the event with four gold medal placements over the season. She won the first event of the year in February, presented virtually by USA Artistic Swimming, with a gold in the Solo Free. Competing in-person in the Budapest event, she won gold for both her Solo Technical and Solo Free routines. Her fourth gold medal came at the virtual event hosted by Canada Artistic Swimming in May, winning the Solo Free.
Prize money and valuable ranking points will be awarded at this event. Due to the ongoing adaptions as a result of COVID, the FINA World Series rules were modified. Placement at the Super Final will count towards the point totals for the FINA World Series and Super Final prize money. To be eligible for the prize money, athletes had to compete in a minimum of two competitions in their category, which could include the Super Final. In 2019, Canada finished first in the World Series overall rankings.
The full schedule for the FINA ASWS 2021 Super Final can be found on the FINA website.