Svetlana Romashina, four-time FINA synchronized swimmer of the year, plans to come out of retirement to buoy Russia’s already-dominant synchronized swimming program.
That’s huge news for the sport, now officially “artistic swimming” after a FINA rebrand. Romashina is tied for the title of most decorated Olympic synchronized swimmer in history with five golds between 2008 and 2016. Romashina won duet titles in 2012 and 2016 (with partner Natalie Ishchenko), plus team titles in 2008, 2012 and 2016. Solo events have been discontinued at the Olympic level since 1992, so Romashina has essentially been atop the synchronized swimming world for the past three Olympic cycles. She retired after the 2016 Olympics.
Russian news service TASS reports that the 28-year-old Romashina plans to come out of retirement and has set her sights on the 2019 World Championships in South Korea. Russia’s head coach Tatiana Pokrovskaya told TASS that “if everything turns out all right, Romashina will be working in pair with [Svetlana] Kolesnichenko.”
Kolesnichenko is coming off a historic European Championships of her own. She won four golds (solo free routine, solo technical routine, duet free routine and duet technical routine) and has been dominant on the World Championships stage since 2011, with 13 career World Champs golds, 8 European titles and one Olympic gold medal. The 24-year-old was partnered with Varvara Subbotina, but TASS indicated Kolenichenko would now join forces with 18-time World champ, 10-time European champ and five-time Olympic champ Romashina in one of the most formidable artistic swimming duos in the history of the sport.
Russia already won 8 of the 9 gold medals in artistic swimming at the 2018 European Championships. The only event they missed was the Combination Routine, which Russia didn’t even enter.
If Romashina’s comeback includes the 2020 Olympics, she could take sole possession of the title of most decorated artistic swimmer in Olympic history. She’s currently tied with several country-mates at 5 golds apiece:
Most Decorated Artistic (Synchronized) Swimmers in Olympic History
1. Svetlana Romashina – 5
1. Anastasia Davydova – 5
1. Natalia Ishchenko – 5
4. Anastasiya Yermakova – 4