USA Synchro announced Tuesday that 2016 Olympian Anita Alvarez and Lindi Schroeder were selected as the U.S. duet team for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, should they qualify.
Team USA has yet to secure an Olympic quota spot in synchronized swimming, but Alvarez and Schroeder will get the chance to nail down a duet spot April 30-May 3 at a qualification event in Tokyo. Alvarez and Schroeder will need to finish in the top seven at that event, excluding nations already qualified, to earn the spot.
“These two swimmers are very mature and have shown their ability to listen and correct quickly in the water,” head coach Andrea Fuentes said in a USA Synchro release. “After knowing these athletes for almost a year, I know that the level of choreography we can create will be very high. One of the key qualities I see in this duet is their ability to complement each other by encouraging bidirectional growth.”
Alvarez competed at her first Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 with Mariya Koroleva and finished ninth. The 22-year-old native of Buffalo, New York, who grew up in the sport with her mother a former college competitor and longtime club coach, competed in duet at the past three world championships: in 2015 with Koroleva, 2017 with Victoria Woreniecki and 2019 with Ruby Remati, who was named the alternate to the 2020 Olympic duet.
“I feel honored to have been selected alongside Lindi to represent Team USA and USA Synchro as the duet that will fight to qualify for Tokyo 2020,” Alvarez said. “I’m extremely excited to work with Lindi and our coaches to nail down our technical skills and create original choreography aimed towards our strengths as a duet. It is even more exhilarating that this gives me the opportunity and possibility to compete in a second Olympic Games. A dream come true times two.”
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Schroeder, an 18-year-old from Andover, Massachusetts, who learned synchronized swimming at her local YMCA, competed in the team event at the 2019 world championships and Pan American Games, claiming bronze at the latter. She has also competed in a similar yet entirely different sport: swimming. Schroeder raced for her school, Phillips Academy, in every stroke at the New England Prep School Athletic Conference Division I Championship.
Alvarez and Schroeder compete at the 2019 Synchro America Open.
“I have grown up in synchro wanting nothing more than to be able to swim for the United States on the Olympic stage,” Schroeder said. “I am incredibly thankful and feel honored to be chosen to represent this national team and the new era of synchro in this country. I am looking forward to working alongside Anita and our coaches to create and perform routines that display innovation and artistry.”
Another way for Team USA to secure a duet quota is through the team event at the same qualification tournament. The top three nations in team will earn a quota for that as well as a duet quota. The U.S. team has yet to be determined, but Alvarez and Schroeder are now guaranteed to be on it.
Team USA hasn’t qualified in team since the 2008 Games but has been a regular participant in duet. Tracie Ruiz and Candy Costie won the gold medal in the debut of duet back in 1984. But the U.S. has not won a duet medal since Alison Bartosik and Anna Kozlova took home the bronze medal in Athens in 2004.
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.