PARIS, Fra – The last day of the 2020 French Open held some incredible highs. The USA Artistic Swimming Senior National Team athletes posted the highest team score in a decade with an 89.2333. However, the moment was short lived as a roster oversight disqualified the senior team from the event.
With improved choreography, the senior team performed one of their greatest swims ever. The 89.2333 was five points higher than the ‘robot’ routine scored at the 18th FINA World Championships in July and three points higher than the team scored at the Pan American Games Lima 2019.
2016 Olympian and Senior National Team Member, Anita Alvarez said seeing their final score was a moment of shock but proof that all their hard work this off season is paying off and served as greater motivation for the Olympic Qualification Tournament in May.
“The feeling of standing on stage with your teammates after knowing you just had a great swim is something really special, and receiving an incredible score in addition to that is something I have dreamed of experiencing after the routine is over,” Alvarez said. “We are extremely proud of our performance in France, however it is only the beginning! There is no room to relax now, and we are ready to put in the work to get us closer to our dream.”
Before the disqualification, the high score would have secured a silver medal for the U.S., and while it is a disappointing result, the score marks the drastic improvement made by the senior team in just over a year with new coaches Andrea Fuentes and Reem Abdalazeem. Fuentes said the team started the season exactly as planned, but the outcome was just a minor setback. She stated that the score is what places the team in the best position to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
“We had a shorter timeline to prepare in 2019 and it showed in the results,” Fuentes said. “It has been a very interesting journey and the team has shared its ups and downs. We have approached everything together with honesty and the will to make it work.”
“This experience made the team more united than ever,” Fuentes continued. “The outcome is never our goal; it is consistent growth and to be our best every day. The result only proves that we are working in the right direction. The strategy is correct, and we will move forward, led by our core values: Authenticity, Unity, Drive and Joy. We will improve our Tech routine dramatically and continue to focus on the details of our Free routine.”
During the medal ceremony for the free event, the French athletes displayed incredible sportsmanship by carrying an American flag to the podium to accept the silver medals.
The senior team will look to learn and build on the results of the French Open before getting back in the competition pool at the second FINA Artistic Swimming World Series stop in Hurghada, EGY March 27-29, 2020.