LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The squads for the senior mixed duet and senior female duet have been selected following a trials process that took place in December, USA Artistic Swimming announced today.
“The US has historically been changing the duet every year and this has affected the result. The pairs haven't had the time to develop the synchronization compared to other countries. For the first time I feel like we can work on something long-term. I want to build something solid and something that lasts. I am very happy with the potential of all the swimmers because their mindsets are in the right place. They are hungry to improve,” Andrea Fuentes, Head Coach of the senior national team, said.
Four female athletes comprise the current, full-time training squad. Megumi Field, Dani Ramirez and Natalia Vega earned their place through December 2021 trials while Anita Alvarez had already qualified for the cohort from the previous Olympic cycle. Remote training athletes Ruby Remati and Lindi Schroeder will be able to join this crew once they return to full time training but will not be eligible to compete for a spot on this year’s World Series and World Championships rosters. The four athletes performed exceptionally and the final pair will be selected as they begin to refine the routines. Synchronization and technique are essential, but the new identity of the team will also place a heavy emphasis on artistry and performance quality.
➙ ABOUT ANITA: Anita has been a longtime member of the national team and just competed in her second Olympic Games in Tokyo as a duet representative for USA. She also has competed as USA’s international soloist in the past while being an integral part of the team unit. Alvarez was a member of the Robot team that almost pushed USA to Olympic qualification. She recently scored a career high in free solo at the FINA Super Final in Barcelona and has been known to have a special artistic quality in her performances. She was also awarded the 2021 USA Artistic Swimming Athlete of the Year award. Her dedication has proven that experience leads to success.
➙ ABOUT MEGUMI: At just 16 years old, Megumi swims beyond her years. She is regularly praised for her elite technical ability and extension and swam as an alternate with the senior squad during the last Olympic quad. She was the junior soloist for USA at the International Open and swam both duet and team at the Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia where she secured silver medals. Megumi has an infectious energy that motivates her teammates and she will undoubtedly continue to grow training with the seniors.
➙ ABOUT DANI: Dani hails from the Sunshine state and, like Anita, has spent a significant amount of time with the senior national team. She has a team-first philosophy and significant international experience on her resume. Dani was also a part of the Robot team that gained international praise for their improvement and ingenuity. She was initially selected as a part of the duet squad for the last quad and her renewed dedication to the national team program is illustrated by her recommitment to full time training while studying at UCLA.
➙ ABOUT NATALIA:Natalia is a part of a new wave of USA swimmers that have chosen to compete collegiately and return to the national team program. Her experience and maturity have already had a positive effect on the team and her work ethic is evident. Most recently, Natalia took a gap year from University of Incarnate Word to compete in the 2019 FINA World Championships in mixed duet alongside Bill May where they received fourth place. Prior to that, she competed with the senior national team both internationally and domestically. In her senior season at UIW, Natalia helped her team back onto the podium and to a third-place finish while also swimming solo and earning Collegiate Athlete of the Year honors.
Two female athletes will test the waters in the senior mixed duet pairing with Kenny Gaudet. Ivy Davis and Claudia Coletti earned their places on the mixed duet roster. In this newer category, chemistry and connection between duet partners are essential. Additionally, a mature movement capability will help to propel the final pair to success in the competitive senior category.
➙ ABOUT KENNY: Kenny first joined the national team in the summer of 2021, moving from the other corner of the country to chase his dreams. He topped the standings at several domestic competitions before joining the national team program and most recently competed in mixed duet at the first Junior Pan American games in Colombia. He swam alongside Ivy Davis and captured the championship, besting Mexico in both the technical and free portions. His growth since joining the national squad is incredible and he is sure to continue to make waves internationally.
➙ ABOUT IVY: Ivy most recently made her mixed duet debut at the Junior Pan American Games where she swam alongside Kenny and captured the gold medal. Before that, she paired with Kenny to compete in the technical portion of the International Open. She has been a part of many national teams, including 12 and under, 13-15 and junior and is now making her senior debut.
➙ ABOUT CLAUDIA: Claudia served our national team with the Junior Pan American squad that secured two silver medals in highlight and team in Colombia this past fall. Claudia came to the US with European artistic swimming experience, having swam in both Italy and France. She joined our national team program in 2019 and has since capitalized upon her skills as a flyer and her passion for the sport. She has been a great addition to our junior program and will continue to progress with our senior squad.
“The four female sections have different strengths They will build off each other and become better as a whole. We are really approaching this as a ‘mini-team’ where everyone can learn from each other and grow. The two mixed duet female athletes also have very different talents. We took care in selecting possible pairs that have very good internal connections. To say that I am extremely amazed with the evolution of Kenny is an understatement. The way he has improved in such a brief period of time should be an inspiration to swimmers across the country, male and female.”
Andrea has a clear philosophy for selecting the USA duet representatives: “We don’t want the best two solos. We want the best duet. They need to complement each other and bring out the best in each other. When the pair empowers each other, everything gets better including synchronization.”