US Duet Gains International Experience At French Open

By Dax Lowery | March 21, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

INDIANAPOLIS - U.S. Synchronized Swimming National Squad members Anita Alvarez (Kenmore, N.Y./Town of Tonawanda Aquettes) and Sandra Ortellado (Walnut Creek, Calif./Walnut Creek Aquanuts) finished 11th in the free duet Friday at the Make Up For Ever French Open in Montreuil, Paris, gaining some valuable international experience in the process.

Competing against swimmers with years of senior national team experience, the two 16-year-olds scored 80.6667 points in the final. Alvarez and Ortellado had 79.7667 points in Thursday’s preliminaries to be one of 13 out of 27 duets to advance to the final.

"They did a good job. They left a very good impression," U.S. National Team coach Julie Fabre said. "Everybody is impressed by their look, legs, height, and we had a lot of good comments on the choreography. They improved between prelims and the final - they were looking more confident. Everything is very positive. You learn so much by competing, and they need that to get some more experience."

China’s Wenyan Sun and Xuechen Huang won gold with 92.2000 points. Japan’s Yukiko Inui and Risako Mitsui finished second at 90.3333, and Ukraine’s Lolita Ananasova and Anna Voloshyna were third with 90.0000 points.

Karensa Tjoa (San Jose, Calif./Santa Clara Aquamaids) was the U.S. reserve and swam with Alvarez and Ortellado as a trio in an exhibition on Saturday.