Spain’s Andrea Fuentes Dominates Solo, Duet at German Open Synchro Meet

By Steven V. Selthoffer

BONN, Germany, March 10 THE German Open 2009 concluded Sunday with a strong performance by Spain's Andrea Fuentes winning both the solo and duet free routine finals with a score of 95.300 in the solo, and 95.100 in the duet with her new partner, Ona Carbonell. Rounding out the top three performances in the solo were Yumi Adachi, JPN, 93.700, and Jenna Randall, GBR, 89,600, respectively.

Spain Continues to be Strong
Fuentes, ESP, was the double Olympic silver medalist in Beijing in duet and team. Standing in the warm-up pool, poolside, after her event Fuentes spoke to Swimming World Magazine.

"I have a long way to work. Now, I am just training. I finished second in duet and team in Beijing, it was the best! But, now I am working harder.

"My style, I would describe as mystery and strength," Fuentes said about her style. "However, this is just the beginning. Today was good. But, I am already thinking ahead to World Championships in Rome. My new partner is Ona Carbonell. It's going well. In the future, I am going for the gold in London!"

In the duet, second place went to Yukiki Inui and Chisa Kobayshi, JPN, 93.100, and Xuechen Huang, and Yiwen Wu, China Shanghai, in third, with a score of 92.100.

"I'd like to improve myself more," Inui said through a translation from Akiko Sumi. "We have been a team only one month in the duet. We have to practice more and more. Our best segment of our routine is our most difficult part. The music is called ‘The Wind and the Violin.' If we can express that and interpret that better for the crowd, then we will be at our best."

"I have been in synchro since I was 6 years old." Great Britain's Jenna Randall said. "The meet here is really good. It is really important for us to get experience and exposure for our team before London 2012. As a duet team, hopefully we are going through together. It's up to the coaches. We were together in Beijing and got 14th, now we are 8th. The organization here has been really good, especially for the athletes."

Tatiana Tsym, Head Coach, Russia, and Lolli Montico, Assistant Coach, Italy coached Great Britain's team.

"Everything is very good here," British Swimming's Director of National Performance Biz Price said. "It's a really important meet for us. We were 14th in Beijing and our goal is to be in Top 12 in WCs. We have a new program, and this is the first time in 15 years the entire national senior team is competing here. We are in preparations for London 2012. There are new judges coming along. Our goal is to be in the Top 6 in London 2012. Then we have a chance for a medal in the duet/pairs events."

"We have gone from 20th to 14th from Beijing to here in one year," Price said when asked about the team's performance at the Olympics. "That is a good improvement. The young girl from Austria, Valeria Samovalova, is definitely a good one. Spain has some new talent that everyone is watching them. Most girls now have national times in swimming from their national championships as well as being in synchro. That's the trend."

Team Free Routine Final
In the team final, Canada finished first with a score of 94.100, ahead of China Sichuan, 94.000 and in third, France with a team score of 90.500.

Julie Sauve, Head Coach and five-time Olympic Coach for Team Canada, finished 4th in Beijing, just off the podium. Canada is not used to that.

"We're looking at getting in the Top 3 again in London," Sauve said. "Canada now has two full time teams, AA and A. We have rebuilt everything in Canada with two full time teams. We now have a cycle of four years on the A team before moving up to AA.

"In comparing regular swimming to us… hey, we're artists! We don't just do horizontal swimming only," Sauve continued. "We go vertical. We go sideways. We can go horizontal too! All positions! AND we can dive in! Look. Flat swimming is too boring. We're multi-talented! No 200 Fly's for us. No way. We're smarter than that! We're gymnasts too!"

Want to be good in synchro? How's your Chinese? Cheng Meng, Assistant coach, Team Canad, a recent export, is from Beijing. It appears that the entire team has readily adapted to the new Chinese commands from the coach on poolside.

It's not easy to tell who-is-who on the deck. The Canadians are coaching in Chinese and French. The British squad coaches are from Russia and Italy… (and Canada)… the German coaches are from Georgia and Uzbekistan, and the Venezuelans are speaking Spanish and coach in Poland. Got it? Luckily, for the rest of us, the French are still speaking French and live in France.

Team France
Julie Fabre, FRA, Head Duet Coach, "I was very happy with the choreography. The feeling I got from the judges was very good. I want to focus on improving our execution. We have had only two months of work. We have to work on our angles, positioning, the symmetry and height. Also, the clarity in how we function in the water and as a team needs improvement. The judges were very happy with our team's performance. Now, it is back to work. We are going to the Japan Open in May. Our goal is to get to the final at World Championships in Rome. After the Beijing Olympics, a lot of our swimmers stopped competing. However, in July we want to give a good impression and let the world know that FRANCE IS BACK!"

Home Town Crowd: Team Germany
For Team Germany the coaches are: Tatiana Reich, Head Coach, Georgia; and Stella Mukhamedora, UZB. Reich commentated, "We just came out of a training camp. This is our first competition this year. We are looking at new talent and developing new routines. Nothing is perfect yet, however, we have a lot of young swimmers, so it looks good. Our goal is to make the final in duet in Rome. We have Lisa Lacker in solo and duet. And Iris or Edith Zeppenfeld as her partner. We have only been together with the new team a short time. But by the time its Rome, we will have had some serious training behind us. We have a four year program for London and that is our main focus."

German Open is a "Must-Do" on the Calendar of Events
Marlon Falcon, Judge, VEN, stated, "This is a really good meet. So many countries are coming to the German Open from all over the world. It is most important now on the calendar of events. We are beginning to test routines since it is pre-World Championships. Over the years, this event has been growing… The level of talent is strong. Which is always the case here, but, we also have some new faces too."

Austrian Womans Coach, Olga Pilipchuk, commented after the Austrian team's performance finishing 7th, "It's our first time here as a team, our performance was very good, but, I am not happy with it. We are now functioning as a team and not as eight individuals. It has only been a short time since our training camp and we have only been training three times a week, with no reserve team. Our duet was very clean. They have really improved after the Olympic Games. At the German Open we did a variation of our old program and it worked well."

Next stop on the international synchro circuit is the Japan Open in April, then World Championships in Rome in July.

German Open 2009 Participants:

Teams: Canada, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, China Shanghai, Great Britain, Belarus, France, Austria, China Sichuan, Bulgaria, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, SUI-Bern, SUI-Limmat Nixen Zürich, SUI-Leman, Hungary, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Croatia, Slovakia.

Meet Director and President German Open Organizing Committee: Udo Lehmann, GER
Audio/Sound: Beppe Di Prima, IT
Sponsors: Arena, DSV, ISV is Internationaler Schwimmverein Bad Godesberg

Venue: Frankenbad, Bonn, Germany

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