The Youth (13-15 Age Group) National Artistic Swimming Team has just returned from Montceau les Mines, France following a very successful participation in the Second European Youth Championships.

Malta competed together with 19 European countries in the Individual Figures as well as the Solo and Duet Free Events.

In the first event of the Championships, the Duet Free Preliminary, Zea Montfort and Emily Ruggier inaugurated this prestigious competition when they were drawn as Start No 1. Notwithstanding this, they achieved 67.4333 points placing them 14th ahead of Serbia, Poland, Austria and Sweden.

The next day, Zea Montfort was back in the water, competing in the Solo Free event. She was the 12th start and obtained 70.70 points placing her 13th ahead of Poland, Sweden, Austria and Serbia.

On the same day all three athletes competed in the Figures event with Zea Montfort netting 75.5944 points, Emily Ruggier 74.1837 and Kylie Zerafa 70.5714.

With the combined scores achieved in the Solo and Duet Preliminary Round and those in the Figures events, Zea Montfort qualified for the Solo Free Finals and Emily Ruggier and Zea Montfort also qualified for the Finals of the Duet Free.

In the morning of the last day of the Championships, Zea Montfort was drawn as Start No 3 and achieved a combined score of 148.7944 placing her 8th ahead of Israel, Poland, Great Britain and Bulgaria.

In the afternoon, Emily Ruggier and Zea Montfort, drawn as Start No 1, netted 145.6891 points which placed them 11th ahead of Germany.

These great results showed an improvement of 8 points in the routines performed in last year’s edition of these Championships. In the Figures events both Emily and Zea improved their personal best by 9 points in comparison to their scores in last year’s edition.

The National Coach Michelle Hyubner and her assistant Hannah Preca Trapani were mesmerised by the results obtained and had the following comments to make:

Placing 8th and 11th in Europe was surreal. The improvement of 8 points in each discipline is a big achievement and qualifying for the Finals was amazing. This is indeed a historic moment for Artistic Swimming in Malta. We are happy with the work we carried out and very proud of our athletes. They are very professional and dedicated and we believe they can do even better to achieve higher goals. We hope that our participation in these Championships will inspire other athletes to join our sport, and that the results obtained will increase the support we receive. We wish to thank the ASA of Malta, our Clubs, the MOC and SportMalta for their backing and hope that now, more than ever, they will continue supporting us. If we work all together we believe that the sky is the limit.”

Joe Caruana Curran, ASA President, commented as follows:

“I am amazed at the great results achieved and believe we must continue to invest in this discipline. I congratulate our athletes, but I must also thank Michelle and Hannah for the extreme hard work and dedication. Without their effort our athletes would not have obtained such wonderful results.”