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Junior Squad Ready to Compete in Canada

By Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming | Aug. 22, 2022, 3:16 p.m. (ET)

The action begins in Canada tomorrow as athletes from around the world dive in for the 2022 FINA Junior World Artistic Swimming Championships. Eleven athletes representing USA Artistic Swimming made the journey north last week and are thoroughly prepared for the task at hand thanks to preparation by head coach Megan Abarca, assistant coach Daniella Garmendia and high-performance manager and assistant coach Lara Teixeira.

Kenny Gaudet, who just finished the senior circuit in Budapest, will have a chance to compete with both of his solo choreographies again. Gaudet will pair with fellow 2021-22 senior national team athlete Keana Hunter for mixed duet. The ‘Venom choreography is the same as the senior season. Gaudet and Hunter’s extension is particularly complementary in the mixed duet category, and they should be noted as a pair to watch.

In the duet category, USA will have two different pairs representing the stars and stripes. Audrey Kwon and Calista Liu, both La Mirada Aquabelles athletes, will swim technical duet together. The pair narrowly missed a gold medal at the U.S. Junior Championship earlier this spring. In free duet, Elisa Brunel will swim with Ella Rau to the same choreography Natalia Vega and Megumi Field displayed during the senior season. The electronic dance music sets a fast-paced tone for the routine and the senior-level choreography highlights the duo’s advanced skill sets. The free duet category is the largest of the competition for USA as Rau and Brunel will face athletes representing 22 other nations.

The high-energy Michael Jackson technical routine will be utilized for the junior squad as well. Hunter, Brunel, Liu, Kwon, Atira O’Neil, Cambell McMillan, Giordanna Zuniga and Elle Santana were selected to compete the routine. For the free routine, Hunter, Brunel, O’Neil, Rau, Liu, Santana, Kwon and Emileen Moore will compete the 2022 Stanford University spider-themed choreography from the collegiate season.

The team competition will feature many nations who have already proven dominance at the senior level. Given that many of these athletes either serve dual-team roles or will be the future of their nations’ senior national teams, it will be crucial for USA to display increased skill and creativity at the junior level. With the next senior season packed with events that culminate with the Pan American Games, fans should watch how the rankings place Pan American nations in Olympic categories.

For the full schedule, draws and livestream information visit the event website at www.finaquebec2022.com.