Artistic swimming nations still hoping to qualify for this summer's Tokyo Olympics face new uncertainty regarding when, and where, they will get their chance to perform for an Olympic berth. FINA, the international governing body of aquatic sports, announced Tuesday that the organization is mulling new options for a venue to host the Artistic Swimming Olympic Qualification Tournament, previously scheduled to take place in Tokyo in early May.
The qualification tournament is slated to determine the final three teams and seven duets that will participate in the Olympics. The United States and Italy headline the list of nations not yet qualified in either discipline, while Spain and Mexico have each qualified a duet but not a full team. This is the third time the event has been rescheduled, having originally been planned for 2020.
The relocation is being made to alleviate a scheduling conflict that arose when the 2021 Diving World Cup was postponed from April to May 1-6, due to concerns relating to COVID-19. Both the diving World Cup and the artistic swimming qualification tournament were scheduled to take place inside the newly-constructed Tokyo Aquatics Center, the same venue that will host both sports during the Olympics. Olympic venues routinely host smaller competitions in the lead-up to the Olympics to function as "test events." FINA said that a replacement artistic swimming test event, without Olympic qualification implications, would be organized ahead of the Games in July.
FINA's announcement stated that the qualification tournament will be made up sometime in June, "to a location to be defined, outside Japan."
In a statement, American artistic swimmer and 2016 Olympian Anita Alvarez downplayed the impact of the postponement. “It doesn’t matter when or where the qualifier will be held, our team will continue to thrive in the face of adversity and adapt to the circumstances as we have throughout this entire season," Alvarez said. "Our fire and fight to get a USA team back in the Olympic Games is stronger than ever.”