France Top the Medal Table as Spain and Italy Shine on Final Day of European Aquatics Youth Artistic Swimming Championships

Credit to: Dimitris Mantzouranis

by Christina Marmet

Spain and Italy were on golden form on the fourth and final day of competition at the European Aquatics Youth Artistic Swimming Championships 2024 in Athens.

The former claimed two gold medals in the morning in the Free Duet and Free Mixed Duet events, while the latter earned its first gold of the competition in the Free Team.

France topped the medal table at the European Aquatics Youth Artistic Swimming Championships Athens 2024, with eight medals in total (3G, 3S, 2B). Spain was right behind with seven medals (3G, 3S, 1B) with Greece in third with four medals (2S, 2B).

Fresh from winning gold in the Free Combination the night before, Andriana Bjorklund Magklara and Lily-Lorna Gualtieri Oldham of Spain claimed their second European title, this time in the Free Duet.

The two Spaniards, aged 14 and 15 respectively, had received a basemark in the preliminary round, but left no doubt in the minds of the technical controllers on Sunday.

Performing a sharp and energetic “Secret Agents” choreography, they were credited with their full difficulty of 34.60, the highest of the final, and earned a combined score of 301.4148 for the gold.

Ismini Maria Karavasili and Ilektra Rapti of Greece also had a stellar performance in their scary routine set to the theme of “What’s Behind the Door?”

The 15-year-olds had placed fifth in the preliminaries after being forced to count three basemarks. However, they left it all behind and were fully focused.

They earned their full difficulty to win the silver medal in front of the delighted home crowd with a combined score of 296.0129.

Yaelle Ayalon Jegoux and Apolline Guillot of France claimed third place with a total combined score of 285.9020 for their “Cheetah” routine.

After a stunning performance in the preliminaries which earned them first place there, the two 15-year-olds were once again precise, fast and impactful in their choreography, notably earning the highest artistic impression score of the event (81.9500).

However, the difference of over 5.5 points in difficulty with the other two duets was unfortunately too significant in the final, especially as everyone hit to the best of their abilities. The pair, competing in duet internationally for the first time, should however be extremely pleased with this bronze, which added yet another medal to France’s count.

Credit to: Dimitris Mantzouranis

Immediately after, eight mixed pairs took centre stage in the Free Mixed Duet final. Unlike the women, the mixed pairs did not go through a preliminary round, and only had this single opportunity to make a strong impression.

Ultimately, Aina Morral Rubio and Eneko Sanchez Aguilar of Spain performed their hearts out in their “Chicago” choreography to claim the European title with a combined score of 275.9083.

While this was Morral Rubio’s first international competition, Sanchez Aguilar was already a bronze medallist at the 2022 European Youth Championships as well as a runner-up at last year’s World Youth Championships in this event, albeit with different duet partners. Both were visibly thrilled and emotional upon finding out they had won their first gold medal together.

Carla Pusta and Macéo Vanhee-Dedieu of France claimed silver with a combined score of 273.4104, swimming to the upbeat cover of “Hit the Road Jack” by Throttle. Pusta and Vanhee-Dedieu, who have already been swimming together for two years at the national level, were incredibly sharp and precise, never losing height or energy throughout the routine.

Even though they came in with the highest figures score and received the highest artistic impression score of the final (76.1000), they couldn’t quite catch up to the gold medallists in terms of difficulty and execution in the routine. However, these European Championships were their first international competition, and they have already shown great potential for the future.

Representing Greece, Stylianos Koukouselis Fouskis and Danai Tsaprali won bronze with a combined score of 262.7360. Aged 14 and 15, respectively, the two have been perfecting their “War Tigers” routine for the last four months, aiming to portray the fearlessness and courage of tigers as best as possible.

This was also the first time that Hungary presented a mixed duet in a major international competition across all age categories. At age 12, Matyas Benjamin Por and Izabel Lili Sores were the youngest of the field and placed seventh overall.

Credit to: Dimitris Mantzouranis

Finally, the Free Team final could not have been more exciting, with the top three teams finishing only 1.3271 points apart.

The team of Italy earned its first gold medal of these championships with a total combined score of 323.3829 for its “New World” routine.

Bronze medallists in 2022, the Italians had finished third in the preliminaries round, but with a degree of difficulty (DD) lowered by two basemarks. On Sunday, they were credited with their full DD of 35.80 to claim the top spot in this final event of these championships.

Swimming its “Avatar” routine, the team of Spain settled for silver with a combined score of 322.3358. The starting difficulty of the Spaniards was a point lower than Italy, and while they received full credit for it, they perhaps didn’t execute some of their elements as well as they would have liked.

While they couldn’t quite overcome the Italians, their strong score in figures (77.2754 – the highest of the final) lifted them up to second place ahead of Greece, who had a higher routine score today.

Indeed, the team of Greece went all out in its “Winter” choreography and had declared the highest DD of the final, a 39.45. The home team unfortunately received one basemark, but their strong performance, which gave them the best artistic impression score of the final (103.0000), helped them win the bronze.

Follow the link to results here.