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The fifth and final day of artistic swimming at the III European Games saw Spain take its third gold of the competition in the Team Free Final. The nation hence tops the medal table of these European Championships with four medals: three golds and one silver.

Seven countries participated in this Team Free Final, and all had already competed in the Team Free Preliminary on June 21. However, the scores did not carry over to the final, so all teams still had a shot at the medals.

Spain had qualified into the first position and managed to keep the top spot in today’s final with 261.6374 points. The Spaniards had decided to increase their Degree of Difficulty (DD) for the final by 0.3, but they ultimately couldn’t quite match their score from the preliminary (303.2751). They received two base marks in the final, but their engaging and entertaining performance to the music of Aladdin was enough for the gold.

The team of Italy, European silver medallists in the event in 2022, again won silver with 253.4709. The Italians had qualified in the second position, but couldn’t quite capitalize on Spain’s mistakes in the final to move up one spot. 

Unlike their direct competitor,  they had opted to play it safe and slightly decrease their DD after receiving one base mark in the preliminary round. It didn’t quite work out as they had hoped as they got two base marks today for their “Inclusion of Man” choreography. 

Israel won the bronze medal with a score of 243.6001 for its Japan-themed routine. The team had qualified in fourth place, and decided to go for consistency, sticking to its 36.6 DD from the preliminary, where they had received a small base mark on one acrobatic. 

The situation repeated itself in the final, albeit on a different acrobatic, but the Israelis had a strong swim with no other major mistake, allowing them to move up to the bronze medal position.

The defending European Champions from Ukraine had qualified to the final in third place, but couldn’t hang on to their spot. The athletes received three costly base marks which dropped them to fourth with a score of 222.1939.

GOLD – Spain –  261.6374
Iris Tio Casas: “We are very happy to win this gold. Everything we tried to do, mostly for artistic impression, worked well. We really wanted to make a difference from the other nations, do something memorable, also in every duet and in the other team events. We are very happy that we did it and the public also enjoyed our performances.”

“It’s difficult for us to understand the new system, we always need to see the video, at training and in the competition as well. Of course, it depends on the people who are judging us, things can look different from different angles so it’s not that easy to identify the mistakes.”
SILVER – Italy – 253.4709
Enrica Piccoli: “Again, we got two base marks, but we have to respect the decisions and learn from them. The first day, we also had mistakes, different ones, and it teaches us that every time is different. We did this routine twice here, but the scoring wasn’t the same. Different days, different worries. We hope next time we won’t get any base marks, but we have to pay attention to every detail. This is the lesson we all have to learn here.”

“Over the months, we always changed the routine in some elements, but I think by next year it’s going to be different for the Games. We will know the system much better. Today, we first saw our coaches, they told us what was wrong, then they went to the technical controllers who talked about totally different mistakes.”
BRONZE – Israel – 243.6001
Shelly Bobritsky: “For us, this medal is an important achievement. We got one base mark for our first lift and in the water we all felt that something went wrong. So we were really motivated to overcome that mistake and we had to do a lot more in the rest of the routine. We managed to do that, and we are happy that the judges and the public appreciated our efforts.”

“We are happy with these new rules. In the past, we also worked a lot, but we felt that was not always valued enough. We are all on the same boat now, all artistic swimmers, we all have to adapt but this is for the better of our sport. During our practices, we try to do everything by the book, but we understand that sometimes it’s the angle, the lighting which can affect the judgment. Those at the table are humans too, they can also make mistakes just like we do. All in all, the system is a lot more objective and things are in a much better order.”

By Christina Marmet / LEN