Ukraine’s artistic swimmers claimed the first gold medal of the LEN Roma 2022 European Aquatics Championships with an emotional victory in the Team Technical final at the Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli.
The Ukrainian squad has been hosted by the Italian Swimming Federation since the outbreak of war in their homeland and they produced a dazzling performance on the first day of competition in Rome.
Performing to an apt theme of ‘Fight for Olympus’ Ukraine, who were second at the Budapest 2022 European Championships, were cheered on by a large audience and achieved a total of 92.5106 for their impressive and entertaining display.
“We are very happy to open the Europeans in this way. It’s a great start for the team but also for each of us individually,” said five-time European champion Vladyslava Aleksiiva.
Team-mate and double Olympic bronze medallist Marta Fiedina added; “We have been training in Italy for five months and we are truly grateful for everything.”
“Of course I miss my family. My mum came to see us at the Worlds. It was the first time in months that we have been together and we are hoping to go back to Ukraine after the Europeans.”
Earlier Switzerland had opened the Team Technical Final competition to great applause with the crowd at the Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli venue excited to see the first medal event of the Roma 2022 European Aquatics Championships.
The Italian flags were soon waving wildly as the home nation were the second team to take to the water.
Performing to ‘We can be superheroes’ by Antongiulio Frulio, the eight-strong team, dazzled the crowd and the World championship bronze medallists attained a total of 90.3772 which would be enough for European silver.
“It was exciting,” stated Gemma Galli. “It was the first time altogether in an international competition and at home, it’s an incredible feeling and something that we are never going to forget. The audience gave us amazing support.”
Rounding off the podium places were the French, the penultimate team to compete in the eight-strong final.
Their energetic display to a remix of Daft Punk’s ‘Technology’ and ‘Harder, Better, Stronger’ tracks entertained the audience and the judges who awarded them a total of 88.0093.
“This is the result of all our hard work,” said French swimmer Eve Planeix:.
“We are very proud, we are moving up the rankings, this is giving us so much confidence and energy. We really fought for this and there is a lot of emotion.”
Women’s Solo – Preliminaries
Earlier in the day double Olympic bronze medallist Marta Fiedina topped the standings after the completion of the women’s solo free preliminaries.
The Ukrainian achieved a total of of 94.0000 to rank ahead of Italy’s Linda Cerruti (91.3000) and Evangelia Platanioti of Greece (91.0667).
“It’s very special for us to be here and important for our country,” Fiedina told LEN TV.
“At the World Championships (in June) we had lots of soldiers message us from home who were fighting and they were saying ‘good luck, we believe in you’ and now we have big motivation here in Rome.”
The women’s solo free final will take place on 14 August – day four of Roma 2022.
The second day of artistic swimming will see women’s duet teams compete in the free preliminaries before the finals for women’s Solo Technical, men’s Solo Technical and women’s Highlights in the afternoon.
For all of the latest results head to the LEN Roma 2022 Live Scoring site.