Published On: April 30, 2024

Jelena Kontić and Ivan Martinović – European Aquatics

By Nick Hope
Aquatics correspondent

European medallist Ivan Martinović and mixed duet partner Jelena Kontić hope Belgrade 2024 will inspire Serbian people to embrace artistic swimming as fans and participants.

Martinović made history at Roma 2022 by claiming bronze in the first-ever men’s solo competition at a senior European Championships – having only made the switch from swim racing the previous year.

The artistic swimming element of this year’s European Aquatics Championships will be the first sport to commence during Belgrade 2024 and shall run from 10-14 June in Sports Centre Milan Gale Muškatirović.

“This is the maybe the pinnacle of our journeys as mixed duets are not that close to the Olympics,” Martinović tells European Aquatics.

“This is the chance to show our country or people our friends or family what we can do and that’s the 110% motivation we need to get our best results to try to go for the medal and achieve all our goals.”

Left to right – Fernando Díaz del Río, Giorgio Minisini, Ivan Martinović Image: European Aquatics.

He and Kontić, who are also a couple, are now targeting success together in what they believe will be an “exciting” event which will boost the popularity of their sport.

Kontić insists she and her partner are “training our asses off!” ahead of the event.

“We are telling everyone we see to come and support us and the other swimmers, because we want them to see artistic swimming and be open to something new like mixed duet because there is only one (pair) in Serbia, but lots around the World and Europe,” she said.

In addition to competing the two mixed duet competitions the pair will also join a newly formed Serbian team, with Martinović the first man to join such a squad.

Jelena Kontić and Ivan Martinović – European Aquatics

Kontić herself competed at the 2017 European Junior Artistic Swimming Championships, which were also held in Belgrade and the youngest member of their team, Marija Kocic, watched her compete at that competition.

“She was literally watching Jelena and her team-mates in 2017,” stated Martinović.

“That was the first time she ever saw artistic swimming and so she decided to start training herself and now seven years later she’s here training with us for the European Championships!

“So, it’s very fun, because we’re a really diverse team from 15 to 24 years old.”

In addition to the team events Martinović and Kontić are preparing new mixed duet choreographies to showcase at Belgrade 2024 and may also compete in the solo disciplines, subject to decisions by their national coach.

Jelena Kontić and Ivan Martinović – European Aquatics

You can follow their journey by following them on Insta: @ivan_martinovic_ and @jelena_synchro. With Serbia’s artistic swimming team posting here.