First FINA Youth World Artistic Swimming Championship in Samorin, Slovakia

Thursday, September 12, 2019, 12:27

The Aquatic Association of Malta made history when it sent a 3-member squad to the 1 st FINA Youth World Artistic Swimming Championship this year. The event, which featured athletes in the 13-15 age group on the world stage, was held between 28th August and 1st September at the X-Bionic Sphere in Šamorín, Slovakia.

Davida Bonanno and Valentina Marchi competed in the duet with Thea Blake as a reserve. Davida Bonanno performed in the solo event with Valentina Marchi as a reserve, while all three swimmers competed in the figures. Malta’s artistic swimmers achieved personal best scores in all their events and gained valuable international experience in figures as they competed against the world’s elite from the 35 participating nations including Russia, Ukraine, US, Italy, Greece, Japan, Kazakhstan, France, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Serbia, Australia, Egypt and Singapore.

The competition for the 3 Maltese swimmers ended with Friday’s compulsory figures as the squad participated in the solo and duet events in the days before that. The scores from the figures were added to the preliminary scores in both events, with only the top 12 progressing to the weekend’s finals.

There was plenty to be pleased with from a Maltese perspective.

Davida Bonanno scored 62.4668 points in her debut on the world stage achieving the 29th place in the solo competition, surpassing swimmers from Costa Rica, Barbados and Iceland. She added 64.8157 average points in the figures to take her total score to 127.2825, with individual figure scores topping the 7.9 mark.

Valentina Marchi teamed up with Davida Bonanno on day two in their first competition together at this level. They improved their high score by an impressive four points achieving 62.5332. Adding the average score of 64.0383 from the pair in the figures meant they ended the competition in 28th place, ahead of countries such as Costa Rica, South Africa and Serbia. The duo scored a total of 126.5715 points and they will undoubtedly be full of confidence after the latest milestone in their careers.

Thea Blake joined the duet in preparation for figures and the Maltese trio set new personal bests in this event. The average score in the figures was also an improvement on the 2018 competition, showing the progression of Malta’s artistic swimming, with scores ranging from 6.5 to 7.2, which are results that had not been achieved prior to this date in any age group. The competition in Samorin was always going to be exceptionally tough for Malta, but the athletes showed great determination in obtaining the maximum value out of the experience.

The finals got underway on day four and although there were no Maltese in action, they were all still at the pool to watch their fellow competitors and take notes on how they can improve their routines for next year’s competition.

The event ended with a seminar for coaches and judges with the top echelons in Artistic Swimming such as Gana Maximova, Maria Jose Bilbao, Miwako Homma and Lisa Schott in attendance.

Travelling with the team to Slovakia were FINA AS Judge Loredana Cassone along with Coach Albertina Onsea.

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