US Duet To Compete At French Open

By Dax Lowery | March 19, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

INDIANAPOLIS - U.S. National Squad members Anita Alvarez (Kenmore, N.Y./Town of Tonawanda Aquettes) and Sandra Ortellado (Walnut Creek, Calif./Walnut Creek Aquanuts) will compete in the free duet this week at the Make Up For Ever French Open in Montreuil, Paris.

Teammate Karensa Tjoa (San Jose, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids) also will take part in an exhibition at the championships, to be held March 20-22.

Alvarez and Ortellado are competing for the first time together and will be among the youngest competitors at the event, as most of the other 25 duets are comprised of senior national team members.

The preliminaries for the free duet are Thursday, with the finals set for Friday.

The goal of the competition is to leave a good impression with this new duet,” U.S. coach Julie Fabre said. “The execution needs to be clean to allow the judges to appreciate the choreography. We worked a lot on synchro, spacing, height and sharpness. I chose these swimmers because of their skills – their height, extension and flexibility. They have a lot of potential.”

Alvarez, Ortellado and Tjoa were members of the U.S. junior team that won gold at the 2013 UANA Pan American Championships, where Tjoa also took duet silver. Ortellado won team and duet silver medals and Tjoa earned team and duet gold at the 2013 U.S. Junior National Championships.

“This is the first time Sandra and I have competed together as a duet,” Alvarez said. “Training together has gone very well so far; we push each other every day to reach our goals. I am not quite sure what to expect going into the competition. I know there are going to be many strong countries there, and although it is going to be a senior competition, it will be great to see where we stand now, just a few months before Junior Worlds.”