17-Year-Old Becomes First Kazakhstani Medalist at Worlds with Artistic Swimming Bronze


Artistic swimmer Eduard Kim became the first Kazakhstani medalist in any sport at the World Aquatics Championships when he took bronze in the men’s solo technical event last week in Fukuoka, Japan.

The 17-year-old scored 216 points to snag a podium spot next to 18-year-old American silver medalist Kenny Gaudet (216.8) and Spanish gold medalist Fernando Riaz del Rio Soto (224.555). It was the first time the event had ever been contested for the men at Worlds. Kim first broke out onto the international scene in 2019 as a world youth champion in mixed duet.

“I did it and I am proud I will make history for my country,” Kim said.

“I am so happy, I can’t stop crying,” Gaudet said “This is history. We finally get our chance to swim just like everyone else. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just… Wow. I can’t stop crying! All these other guys have probably gone through the same pains as I have growing up into this sport. So it’s crazy that we can finally have the chance to stand on the podium like everyone else. That we get to have our individual moment. All we ever wanted was for the sport to just be inclusive, and we are finally getting that recognition.”

Gaudet also claimed bronze in the men’s solo free event behind Colombia’s Gustavo Sanchez (179.5562) and Spain’s Dennis Gonzalez Boneu (193.0334).

Japan’s Yukiko Inui triumphed in the women’s solo free (254.6062) after already winning the technical event (276.5717) on Day 2, becoming the first artistic swimmer from her country to collect multiple golds at a single Worlds. Japan topped the artistic swimming medal table with four golds while Spain and China were close behind with three golds apiece.

Vasiliki Alexandri was about 25 points behind Inui in the women’s solo free for silver, and 21-year-old Kate Shortman rounded out the podium in 3rd place with Great Britain’s first artistic swimming medal ever at Worlds.

In the women’s duet free, the other two Alexandri triplets, Anna-Maria and Eirini-Marina, brought home the first artistic swimming world title in Austrian history. The 25-year-old sisters are from Greece, but left in 2015 following a dispute with the Greek Swimming Federation.

China won the last two artistic swimming medals of the meet in the team free and mixed duet free events. Cheng Wentao and Shi Haoyu got the job done for China in the mixed duet free with 225.102 points. Neither Mexico’s pair of Itzamary Gonzalez Cuellar and Diego Villalobos Carrilo (192.55) nor Spain’s duo of Dennis Gonzalez Boneu and Mireia Hernandez Luna (183.4207) cleared 200 points as they placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Japan and Ukraine rounded out the podium behind China in the team free while Spain missed the podium following its victory in the team technical event. 

Artistic Swimming Medal Table, 2023 World Championships

Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
Japan 4 1 2 7
Spain 3 1 3 7
China 3 1 1 5
Austria 1 2 0 3
United States 0 2 2 4
Italy 0 2 0 2
Colombia  0 1 0 1
Mexico  0 1 0 1
Great Britain  0 0 1 1
Kazakhstan  0 0 1 1
Ukraine 0 0 1 1
Total 11 11 11 33

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About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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