Olympic Paris: The International Olympic Committee made the historic announcement last week that men will now be able to compete in artistic swimming at the Olympic Games in Paris. As more men have started playing the sport and demonstrating that their athleticism is too outstanding to ignore, the push for inclusion has lasted a long time.
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Beginning in 2024, eight-person national Olympic teams will only be allowed to field a maximum of two males. Ten teams will be qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Paris. In recent years, many of the nations that have shown themselves to be serious competitors for those ten positions have been seeking to expand their male talent pools. It will be fascinating to see which nations take advantage of this regulation change in the year running up to Olympic qualification competitions. Teams may still swim eight women if they so desire. The duet competition, which will only be open to female swimmers, will not be open to men.
World Championships 2015
Male competitors were given the chance to compete in the mixed duet division at the World Championships in 2015. Since then, World Aquatics, formerly known as FINA, has increased participation opportunities by adding the male solo category and letting men to compete in the highlight, now known as acrobatic, category during World Series and Super Final competitions.
Bill May, a native of the USA, has struggled for this objective throughout his lengthy and illustrious career as an artistic swimmer. Before many people were open to the concept of men participating in artistic swimming, formerly known as synchronized swimming, May entered the sport. May persevered to win the first-ever gold medal as a male in the sport at the 2015 World Championships, the inaugural year mixed duet was included in the World Championship program. This announcement is particularly special for him, as he has dedicated his time and talents to developing the sport across the world, encouraging male swimmers to get involved and train for this moment.
“These are fantastic developments for our really unique sport of artistic swimming. Several individuals support, promote, and incite change within our sport. Being a part of the journey as our sport develops and becomes more inclusive is an honour. Unquestionably beneficial, this action will support the development of artistic swimming both domestically and internationally, he said.
Senior Athletics Kenny Gaudet Artistic Swimming
In addition to swimming with his female teammates in the highlight category at the World Series competition, senior national team athlete Kenny Gaudet, who represented the USA as the male in mixed duet last season, mirrored May’s pleasure.
“All boys will have the opportunity to demonstrate that we are deserving of participating at the highest level in this sport. The conclusion of all the hard effort that many male swimmers before me have put in is the decision to allow men to compete in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Their advocacy and labour weren’t in vain. I feel sad when I consider all the men who came before me and were rejected, and I’m happy for all the men who will now hear “yes,” “said Gaudet.
Olympic Paris: Assistant Coach for Age Group National Teams Finalized
The 2023 USA Artistic Swimming Youth and Junior National Teams assistant coaches have been chosen. Under the guidance of head coaches Ludi Perrin-Stsepaniuk and Megan Abarca, Laura Mase (Youth). Ou Liu (Junior), and Monica Velazquez-Stiak (Junior) will complete the coaching staff for the age group national teams this summer. The 2023 World Aquatics Youth Championships will be held in Greece. And the junior national team will be the first group to participate in the program’s revival (ODP). ODP will concentrate on the personal growth of our top artistic swimmers in the years leading up to World Championships.
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Olympic Paris: LAURA MASE – YOUTH ASSISTANT COACH
Since 1993, Laura has participated in artistic swimming in the USA. Laura competed in swimming from 1993 to 2001 for the New Canaan YMCA Aquinas. And from 2001 to 2005 for the University of Richmond. Where she earned a Degree in communication and elementary education. She started her coaching career while still in college, working with the Richmond Dolphilinas. In Indianapolis, Indiana, Laura served as the Education Director for USA Artistic Swimming from 2005 to 2008. While simultaneously coaching Indy Synchro. She continued her education by enrolling in graduate programmes at New York University. Where she graduated in 2011 with an MA in Communicative Sciences and Disorders. While in graduate school. Laura returned to her home club as an assistant coach for the Aquinas where she has been coaching ever since.
Laura is a speech-language pathologist who works full-time with students with special needs in a middle school. She has been coaching the Aquinas youth team since 2011, despite working a full-time job, because of her love of the game and desire to improve her athletic abilities. Laura has successfully competed in athletics to qualify for the USA national teams and win multiple medals in a variety of sports at national championships. Laura was selected the East Zone Coach of the Year in 2022 as well as the head coach of the 12U national team in 2020.
Ou Liu – Junior Assistant Coach
The Santa Clara Aqua ladies junior program’s head coach is Ou Liu. She has been a coach for the Aqua Maids for eight years. And she has competed in artistic swimming for almost two decades. She participated in competitions with the China National Artistic Swimming Team from 2005 to 2013. Winning a bronze medal in the team event at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and a silver medal in the team event and a bronze medal in the duet event at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Ou served as a coach and swimmer for the Chinese Guangdong Provinc e Artistic Swimming Team from 2012 to 2013. At the 12th National Games of China. She participated in the program and helped her team win gold in the team competition and silver in the duet competition. She also brought this team to 2013 U.S. Open in Dallas, Texas where they collected all gold medals.
She transferred her skills to the country in 2015, where she became a junior coach with the Santa Clara Aquamaids. 2015’s Junior China Open saw the team win gold in the team, duet, and solo events. At the U.S. Junior Nationals in 2016, she led her SCA junior team to gold medal victories in the team, duet, and solo competitions. She coached all age groups at SCA from 2016 to 2019. Because she is dedicated about the growth of the age group. Particularly the development of potential Olympians, Ou returned to the junior programme solely in 2019. During Ou’s athletic career she was trained by many top coaches in the world. And she developed her coaching method from her own experience and perspective as an elite athlete.
Olympic Paris: Junior Assistant Coach, Monica Velzquez-Stiak
The synchronised (artistic) swim team at The Ohio State University is now coached by Monica Velazquez-Stiak as an assistant. Before to beginning her coaching career at the collegiate level. Monica served as the Player Safety and Membership Manager for USA Artistic Swimming’s national office. And in Ohio State Athletics’ department of camps and clinics. She assisted our junior and senior national teams at the 2021 Junior Pan American Games. And the 2022 French Open as part of her duties at USAAS.
In addition to coaching, Monica has worked with a local Columbus club. At various USAAS camps, and through choreography and consultancy. Monica participated in four national teams as an athlete and played for the Buckeye varsity squad from 2014 to 2018. In addition to her four individual victories throughout her collegiate career. She also assisted the team in winning three national titles. She obtained both her master’s degree in Sport Management and her bachelor’s degree in Sport Industries from Ohio State.
The greatest athletics in our nation continue to be developed this summer. As we get them ready to compete for us at the World Championships. I have a great deal of faith and trust in Ludi, Megan, Laura, Ou, and Monica as our chosen leaders. We were lucky to have such a large pool of coaches in our community. That are dedicated to the advancement of our nation. I am looking forward to seeing the growth of the national team. Athletics under the leadership of the coaching staff,” Lara Teixeira, High Performance Manager, said.
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