2021 European Aquatics Championships: Russian Artistic Swimmers Near Perfect; Divers Claim Historic Victory

Artistic Swimming Duet Free Final RUS RUSSIA KOLESNICHENKO Svetlana ROMASHINA Svetlana XXXV LEN European Aquatic Championships Duna Arena Budapest - Hungary 11/5/2021 Photo Pasquale Francesco Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Pasquale Francesco Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

The Russian duet of Svetlana Romashina and Svetlana Kolesnichenko continued to dominate artistic swimming, earning one perfect mark for the free routine at the European Championships.

Another Russian gold came in the mixed duet while Ukraine won the team free and Israel claimed a historic first-ever bronze medal.

Russia also performed well in the diving well with gold in the women’s 10m synchro and Evgenii Kuznetsov and Nikita Shleikher delivered another 1-2 finish for the team in the men’s 3m. Kuznetsov earned 525 points in the final as Russia claimed its 100th diving title in the history of the European Championships.

Russia’s two Svetlanas – 22 European titles among them before this event – Romashina and Kolesnichenko were at their best.

The judges agreed. For the first time since 2010 a perfect mark of 10.0 points appeared on the scoreboard at the European Championships, in the company of a couple of 9.9s and 9.7s and they finished with a 97.900.

 “It was such a happy moment when we saw the 10, because it is not so usual you can see that mark,” Kolesnischenko said. “It was so great. Seconds before Svetlana said me, ‘maybe 10’… and when I realised there is a ten on the screen and I said, “look at this, Svetlana, there is a 10”. We hope to see more 10s in the future, and of course we try to work harder, but now we are happy for the score, for our performance and our routine, and our coach Tatiana Danchenko was happy she said that the duet was good, so we are really satisfied.”

Just as in the technical final, Ukraine and Austria claimed the other medals at the European Championships, and the mixed duet free also mirrored the ranks of the technical event: Aleksandr Maltsev and Olesia Platonova came first, ahead of the Spaniards and the Italians. The team free event saw history. Ukraine’s victory and Spain’s silver were expected but for the first time Israel could step on the podium.

Russia’s golden charge continued in the diving pool. After coming 1-2 in the individual event, the Russians grabbed the women’s platform synchro title too. Iulia Timoshinina and Ekaterina Beilaeva sat in the second place before the last round.

More from the meet

Kuznetsov and Schleikher proved to be ahead of the pack in 3-meter. Kuznetsov kicked off the meet with three 80+ dives, while Shleikher came up with a 94.50-pointer in the second round.

Shleikher even took the lead after the fourth round but Kuznetsov replied in the fifth for 94.50 points and he capped the evening with the week’s first 100-pointer on his last attempt, a strong finish to Russia’s 100th career victory at the European Championships.

“I am very happy that I had defended my title from two years ago in Kyiv,” Kuznetsov said. “Today all my dives were nice but the last one was the brilliant, I mean 100 points… I am finished with the Europeans here in Budapest. We now have the National Championships and only the best two in 3m will qualify for Tokyo.”

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