Belgrade 2024: Artistic Swimming to kick off European Aquatics Championships

Published On: June 9, 2024

Credit to: Simone Castrovillari

by Christina Marmet

The European Aquatics Championships in Belgrade will kick off with artistic swimming on June 10, featuring athletes from 22 member federations competing across 11 events.

The top artistic swimmers of the continent will showcase their exciting routines over five days of competition in the Sports and Recreational Center Milan Gale Muškatirović, which was constructed half a century ago for the first World Aquatic Championships in 1973.

In the last two editions of the European Artistic Swimming Championships, held in Rome in 2022 and Oswiecim in 2023 as part of the European Games, a total of 13 different nations secured at least one medal across the events. This reflects the evolving landscape of the sport, influenced by the new scoring system and the addition of new events such as the men’s solos, which will appear for the second time on the programme in Belgrade.

Many countries will use this competition as an opportunity to fine-tune their choreographies before the Olympic Games.

Austrian duet Anna-Maria and Eirini-Marina Alexandri, who won gold in the Duet Free at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, had been scheduled to compete in the Serbian capital.

However, they had to withdraw because Eirini-Marina came down with a high fever.

The duets of the Netherlands, Great Britain, Greece and Israel, all four bound for Paris in just under 50 days, will all look to challenge for the title.

The Dutch duo of Bregje and Noortje de Brouwer won silver in Duet Free at the 2024 World Championships, while Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe of Great Britain secured bronze in Duet Free and silver in Duet Technical. The British pair also just won their first World Cup gold at the beginning of May in the newly-built Paris Olympic Aquatic Centre.

The team events offer a good opportunity for some nations to step onto the podium for the first time – especially at this 2024 edition. Ukraine, which swept all the golds in Rome, will not compete, and Spain, reigning European champions in Team Free and Team Technical, will only swim in the latter. This opens the door for Italy, Greece, Great Britain, or Germany to fill the spots on the podium.

The competition across the non-Olympic events is bound to be exciting as well, especially in the solo events which haven’t been held since 2022. On the women’s side, Vasiliki Alexandri of Austria, who won two bronze medals in Rome, is the favourite for the gold in Belgrade. Klara Bleyer (Germany), reigning two-time European junior champion, Zoi Karangelou (Greece), Marloes Steenbeek (the Netherlands) and Valentina Bisi (Italy) will look for a place on the podium as well.

On the men’s side, Giorgio Minisini of Italy, the first-ever European champion in the men’s solo event and reigning World champion in Solo Free, headlines a competitive field. The 28-year-old will face a big challenge from 2023 World champion Dennis Gonzalez Boneu of Spain, but 2022 European bronze medallist Quentin Rakotomalala of France, and Ranjuo Tomblin of Great Britain will certainly be in the hunt as well.

Ivan Martinovic, who claimed the first Serbian medal in artistic swimming in Rome, will compete in both mixed duets this time as well as in the Team Technical. In Belgrade, seven nations will contest the medals in the Mixed Duet Technical and eight in the Free event – with Spain’s Dennis Gonzalez Boneu, Emma Garcia Garcia and Mireia Hernandez Luna coming in as the top favourites.

Follow all the action live on European Aquatics TV, starting on Monday at 10:30 with the Women’s Solo Free Preliminaries.