Barton and Rodriguez gain valuable experience at FINA World Trophy

By Dax Lowery | Nov. 30, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)

INDIANAPOLIS - Two new members of the U.S. Senior National Squad gained some valuable international experience while competing at the FINA Synchronized Swimming World Trophy in Mexico City on Friday night.

With just a few weeks to prepare, Claire Barton (Los Gatos, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids) and Sarah Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas/Santa Clara Aquamaids) finished seventh in the thematic duet with 89.167 points.

“We feel that this was a great learning experience and that being here both exposed us to other countries’ way of training and gave us the chance to create a good showing for the U.S.,” Barton said.

Added Rodriguez: “It was an ideal first senior-level competition experience. It was very fun to get to compete a routine that is solely judged artistically and swim a completely different type of routine. Swimming to fun music and with props was a unique experience.”

"I think it was a great experience for them," said Myriam Glez, USA Synchro's High Performance Director. "This was their first seniors international experience, and they were very enthusiastic about it. I am sure they learned a lot and watched carefully what other countries were doing."

Barton, a member of the U.S. Junior National Team when she recently was selected for the 2014 U.S. Senior National Squad, was part of the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the UANA Pan American Championships in August. She also earned two medals at the U.S. Junior National Championships in April while swimming for the Santa Clara Aquamaids, winning gold in team and partnering with Rodriguez to take bronze in duet.

Rodriguez was a member of the U.S. team that won silver at the 2013 U.S. Open. She also was a member of the winning Santa Clara Aquamaids squad that won team gold at the U.S. Junior National Championships.

This is the eighth annual FINA World Trophy, which is judged solely on artistic merit. There are two panels of judges: five FINA neutral judges and five celebrity judges. The participating countries are the United States (duet only), China, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, Spain and Ukraine.

China's Xuechen Huang and Wenyan Sun won the thematic duet with 93.344 points, followed by Russia's Anna Petrishcheva and Evgeniya Shtefan (92.666) and Ukraine's Lolita Ananasova and Anna Voloshyna (91.667).