No Russians, Belarusians expected at aquatics worlds in July

Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships: Swimming - Day 4

No Russian or Belarusian athletes are expected to compete at this year’s world aquatics championships in Japan because the sport’s governing body isn’t expected to rule on their eligibility until it’s too late for them to enter.

World Aquatics said Wednesday it will create a task force to look at how Russia and Belarus could return to swimming, diving and water polo as neutral athletes. The update is expected in July, the same month of the world championships in Fukuoka.

The entry deadline for swimming and diving is June 27. For water polo, the entry deadline is July 3. The championships start on July 14.

Governing bodies like World Aquatics were asked by the International Olympic Committee to look at ways of reintegrating Russian and Belarusians with neutral status ahead of the 2024 Paris Games.

The IOC has suggested athletes who have actively supported the war in Ukraine or are contracted to the military and national security agencies should be denied neutral status. Russia and Belarus should also stay excluded from team sports, the IOC said last week.

Most Olympics sports banned those countries from playing in or hosting international events within weeks of the invasion of Ukraine last year. Tennis and cycling have allowed athletes to continue with neutral status.

World Aquatics said its decision last year to exclude athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus remains in effect. Those countries both missed the 2022 Worlds in Budapest.

At the previous world championships in 2019 — held in South Korea before the coronavirus pandemic — Russia placed third in the medal standings behind China and the United States, winning 12 golds and 30 medals overall. Ukraine won seven medals, including one gold.

World Aquatics said its task force would include athletes and be led by Maureen Croes of Aruba, who is president of the Pan American regional swim body.

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U.S. artistic swimming team featured in Super Bowl commercial

USA Artistic Swimming
USA Artistic Swimming

Eight members of the Los Angeles-based U.S. artistic swimming national team featured in a commercial that aired during the Super Bowl LVII pregame show on Sunday.

Two-time Olympian Anita Alvarez, plus national teamers Claudia Coletti, Jaime Czarkowski, Elizabeth Davidson, Keana Hunter, Jacklyn Luu, Daniella Ramirez and Natalia Vega performed in the ad for the hair care products brand TRESemmé, which recently announced a two-year partnership with USA Artistic Swimming through the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The commercial was filmed in early November in Los Angeles and choreographed by Parris Goebel, who also choreographed the halftime show headlined by Rihanna.

Alvarez made national headlines last June when she fainted in the pool at the end of her free solo final routine at the world championships in Budapest.

Two people dove in to help, including U.S. head coach Andrea Fuentes, a retired Spanish Olympic artistic swimmer. Fuentes rescued Alvarez from the bottom of the pool.

In June 2021, Alvarez briefly lost consciousness at the end of a routine at an Olympic qualification event, leading Fuentes to dive into the pool, fully clothed, to help.

The TRESemmé commercial begins with an image of a quote from Fuentes — “The way hair moves in water is so fluid and free … But this is not something we are able to experience in our competitions.”

The full-length commercial was published on YouTube in January, and the spot aired on TV a few times before the Super Bowl.

Alvarez and Lindi Schroeder placed 13th in the duet at the Tokyo Games, five years after Alvarez and Mariya Koroleva took ninth in Rio. Solo artistic swimming is not on the Olympic program.

Also in 2022, Coletti, Czarkowski, Davidson, Hunter, Ramirez and Vega were part of the team that posted the U.S.’ best combined results at the world championships since 2007, the last year it qualified for the Olympic team event.

The Americans were sixth in the technical routine, ninth in the free routine and fifth in the highlight (acrobatic) routine, the three events that will make up the 2024 Paris Games competition.

The U.S. still must qualify for the 10-nation 2024 Olympic team event. It failed to reach the last three Olympics. It missed the Tokyo Games by one spot and .2108 of a point in a last-chance qualifier.

The winner of November’s Pan American Games in Chile qualifies for the Olympics. The U.S. is expected to contend with Canada and Mexico for that spot.

If the U.S. does not win Pan Ams, its last shot to qualify will be the February 2024 World Championships. The top five nations among those not already qualified via continental championships will round out the 10-nation Olympic field.

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World aquatics championships head to Singapore in 2025, replacing Russia


Singapore will hold the world aquatics championships in 2025, replacing the originally awarded host of Kazan, Russia, and bringing the event to Southeast Asia for the first time.

It will mark an unprecedented fourth consecutive year to have a world aquatics championships after Budapest (2022), Fukuoka, Japan (2023) and Doha in February 2024, five months before the Paris Olympics.

The World Aquatics Championships were a biennial event before the COVID-19 pandemic altered the global sports calendar.

Aquatics worlds include swimming, diving, water polo, artistic swimming and the non-Olympic discipline of high diving. They are usually contested in June and July, though the Singapore dates are to be determined.

Kazan was originally named 2025 Worlds host in 2019, but the nation has been stripped of hosting international competitions since it invaded Ukraine. Budapest was also named 2027 Worlds host back in 2019.

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