FINA World Championships 2019 | As it happened: Day 5

Olympic Channel were on site in Korea as the World Championships continued with team finals in diving and artistic swimming.

By ZK Goh and Andrew Binner ·

Olympic Channel are on site at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

The competition on Tuesday 16 July included team finals in both artistic swimming and diving.

Olympic qualifying spots were also up for grabs in the Men's 10km open water final, which saw the top 10 finish within 10 seconds of each other.

You can re-live all of Monday's action with our blog below (newest updates first). Come back for daily live blogs throughout the Championships.

Alternatively, you can catch up with what happened on Monday 15 July here.


12 - 28 Jul 2019

FINA World Championships - Gwangju

South Korea

All times below are Korean Standard Time (UTC+9 hours).

10:45 pm – Signing off

Thanks for your company again today!

That was certainly an enjoyable day, with the dramatic end to the Men's 10km open water swim, to the titanic battle between European and world champions in water polo, and capped off by the intriguing mixed team event diving format.

Do join us tomorrow for another three finals.

Until then, enjoy our daily gallery of today's best photos!

FINA World Championships Day 5 - the best photos

10:25 pm – Eight-from-eight for China

Sereda is a massive talent for the future for Ukraine. He finishes the competition with 81.60 for his final dive. Incredible. Unfortunately, it won't be a medal today for Ukraine.

Malaysia's Leong Mun Yee puts in a good dive to finish but her partner Chew Yiwei slightly overcooks his entry to the water. Could that cost them?

It's a nervous wait... and it has! Big hugs for the Americans Katrina Young and Andrew Capobianco, who have clinched bronze.

So, it's gold to China's Lin Shan and Yang Jian for the first time since this event was introduced. It also means the Chinese are unbeaten so far in Gwangju, winning all eight diving events so far.

Sergey Nazin and Iuliia Timmoshinina of Russia win silver.

Five diving finals remain.

10:06 pm – Are China about to break their duck?

Some huge scores from the Chinese on their last dives. This is one diving event at the Worlds they've yet to win. But Russia and Malaysia are going to have to produce something special here to knock them off top spot.

The Russians are celebrating. They think they've won a medal. Into second, and that might be pretty solid. China are a cool 26 points clear.

9:50 pm – 13-year-old Sereda continues to wow

Ukraine's 13-year-old Oleksii Sereda is an absolute star. He just missed out on a medal in yesterday's men's 10m platform synchro, of course.

Here he partners 15-year-old Anna Arnautova.

Sevens from the judges for Sereda, and Ukraine are within touching distance of a medal.

After two rounds, things have changed around at the top. China are still top, but they have a 2.0-difficulty dive left. Russia sit second and Malaysia third.

Ukraine are sixth.

9:15 pm – End of first round in diving

Well, that took a while.

A 3.5-difficulty dive (armstand back 3.5 somersaults in the pike position) off the 10m platform for Yang Jian as China are the first team to opt against a 2.0-tariff dive. 

That's good, and ought to put them into the lead, unless we have any other teams opting for a high tariff in this first round of dives.

Oscar Ariza of Venezuela goes for a 3.0-difficulty dive, but his teammate didn't impress the judges and that won't be enough to see Venezuela into the high positions after this first round.

Lars Rudiger of Germany is the next to attempt a big dive. Off the 3m platform, he's gone for a forward 2.5 somersaults with 2 twists in the pike position (3.4 degree of difficulty). That's not bad either, and puts Germany into second.

A nice thing about this being an open final is we have teams that wouldn't normally reach a diving world final involved, including Cuba and Thailand. Here come the Thais, with two high-difficulty dives to start. Not great dives, but thanks to the difficulty levels, sees them into third as things stand.

So, with the caveat that most of these teams have chosen to start with their obligatory two 2.0-difficulty dives, China lead from Germany in second and Thailand third.

9:03 pm – Kiley Neushul reacts

After a brilliant water polo match, USA Olympic gold medallist Kiley Neushul told us she wasn't surprised the Netherlands would be so strong.

She even revealed that the Olympic and world champions use some of their opponents' play books!

"That game was really good fun for all of us. We haven’t really felt that kind of pressure in a world championships for a while.

"World League Super Final (semis) against Netherlands was a great test for us, so we anticipated this tough match.

"The Netherlands set the bar for us. We use some of their plays and tactics, we study those and see what’s best for us. That’s what is fun about water polo, we see each other a lot and it’s an exchange of ideas."

The 26-year-old also mentioned the raucous crowd, who helped create a brilliant atmosphere for the clash.

"The fans were great. They know water polo and they know when to cheer and they were excited. We don’t have many fans here from USA so we’ve really been enjoying the Korean fans' support."

Olympic gold medallist Kiley Neushul said the Netherlands 'set the bar' for Team USA

8:53 pm – Platform debut

All 2.0 difficulty dives so far, but Tammy Takagi of Brazil is the first (after eight divers) to do a dive off the 10m platform.

All seven before her had jumped off the 3m springboard.

8:48 pm – Tactical

So, a game of tactics here.

Who dives off which height? What order should they dive in and when should teams use their low-tariff 2.0 difficulty dive?

Defending champions France have no team in this event this year, so we will have a different winner.

8:45 pm – No host representation

South Korea were listed on the start list, but they haven't been introduced to the crowd. It appears we will only have 16 teams in this final.

8:30 pm – How does the team diving final work?

The last final of the day begins in 15 minutes, with the Team Event final in diving.

But how does it work?

Well, I've looked through the rulebook so you don't have to.

There are 17 teams taking part in a straight final, diving in random order drawn before the final.

Each team is made up of one male and one female diver, and they must each dive three times.

There are three rounds of dives, with each team's divers diving in succession, individually. It is up to the teams to determine the dive order.

There must be three dives from 3m and three from 10m per team and each diver must make at least one dive from each height.

Two of the six dives must have a 2.0 degree of difficulty; one per athlete. The other four dives have no difficulty limits.

Seven judges will score each dive, with the top two and bottom two scores discarded.

China, who have won all seven diving events so far in Gwangju, only won bronze in the inaugural competition of this event in 2015. They finished sixth two years ago in Budapest. Will they change that today?

8:12 pm – China join Russia and Ukraine on podium

Clean and precise from the Chinese as they draw this team technical final to an end.

That should be good enough for a medal and to join Ukraine and Russia on the podium. The only question is, what colour is the medal?

A brand new choreography that wowed the crowd. 93.45 to beat Ukraine; 96.94 to beat Russia.

It's 95.15, silver for China. Russia back on top in artistic swimming once more!

In an odd quirk, the 12 finalists finished in exactly the same order they did in the preliminary round.

8:10 pm – USA water polo snatch it!

And breathe! What an unbelievable game that we have been treated to there.

The final quarter took the same form as the rest of the match with USA racing two goals out and the Dutch chipping back at their lead.

In the end it was 12-9 to USA, who now go top of the group, but a huge amount of credit goes to the Netherlands (and their fans!), for getting the better of the all-dominant world and Olympic champions for several parts of the match.

7:53 pm – All square in water polo, heading into the final quarter

Netherlands score a penalty with the final play of the 3rd quarter to level the match at 7–7 and ensure the drama will continue to the end.

There is a Dutch fan behind me looking through his fingers.

Nervous moments in the USA team huddle.

One last huddle for Team USA

7:53 pm – Russia into the artistic swimming lead

Russia are performing their routine set to Russian folk music.

It's fast-paced and upbeat. The music, at least; the swimmers of course have to perform their required elements. Ukraine are still in the lead with their 93.45.

The defending champions get a big roar from the crowd. The coaches look happy.

What do the judges think? 96.94! Huge!

7:45 pm – Netherlands refusing to lie down

...Or maybe their fans just won't let them. I think i'm going deaf! What a boost to the players their support must be.

USA are 6–5 up in the third quarter, but every time they look like they are about to pull away, the women in orange just haul them back in.

7:40 pm – Can Ukraine's artistic swimming team build on gold?

Last night's Highlight Routine champions Ukraine are up now.

What can they produce here?

The synchro looks slightly out on the slow-motion replay. It's 93.45! That's a big score. The marker is set for Russia and China.

7:34 pm – Watch live

Remember, our audience in the USA can also watch this match on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, or on live or on demand.

7:28 pm – Action shot!

The match restarts with Ed Sheeran for the ball chase this time. I preferred the heavy metal.

BANG - Netherlands score first and level the game at 33.

This game is everything we hoped it would be and more!

Top left - what a shot from Netherlands!

7:25 pm – Israel make history with first-ever final appearance

Israel have just completed their first-ever team final at the worlds in artistic swimming. It's a monumental achievement, a real improvement in a short space of time.

They scored around 81 points in the prelims. The big test for them will be to improve on that score.

They do! 82.5, a great effort. Hugs all around.

7:22 pm – It's a goal fest in the water polo

It's raining goals here in Gwangju and the USA have found their form, going into the first quarter break 3-2 up.

Chants of 'Holland, Holland, Holland' must be making the USA team talk difficult.

USA team talk

7:16 pm – What a start from the Oranje!

Roared on by their fans, the Netherlands have scored in the first 10 seconds! WHAT.A.START!

Netherlands 1–0 USA

7:15 pm – The teams are out!

Team USA belt out their anthem. They may be the invincibles, but today they may be tested as Netherlands have brought an army in the stands! It's like a football match out here.

What a fitting atmosphere for this clash of the unbeaten women's water polo teams.

Olympic and world champions U.S.A. sing the national anthem
The Netherlands have brought their fan club, and they're making serious noise!

7:00 pm – Last artistic technical final on cards

The 12 teams in the artistic swimming team technical final have paraded, and we're nearly ready.

Once more, Russia are favourites. But the Chinese team will perform last, and they'll be a threat. We could be in for a great finish.

This being a technical event, each team has five required sets of elements to perform in their routines. This is the last of our four scheduled technical finals.

6:40 pm – Getting ready...

The Netherlands and the 'invincible' USA team are warming up in the training pool. They're on after this Japan v Italy game, which has about four minutes left to play.

Netherlands and USA warm up in the training pool before their women's water polo match at Gwangju 2019. (Photo: Olympic Channel)

6:20 pm – It's just a bit of rain...

Despite this photo, our intrepid reporter Andrew Binner assures us that the crowd's spirits aren't being dampened despite getting soaked by the rain.

Yes, pun completely intended.

Olympic Channel's Andrew Binner braving the wet conditions in Gwangju

6:12 pm – Doubling up?

Something from this morning's men's 10km open water swim.

Italy's Gregorio Paltrinieri finished sixth in a photo-finish, just 5.1 seconds behind the winner Florian Wellbrock.

That secured him a spot at Tokyo 2020.

Intriguingly, Paltrinieri is also the reigning Olympic champion in the 1500m freestyle in the pool.

Could we see him double up in Tokyo? The 1500m heats here in Gwangju will take place on 27 July.

5:58 pm – We need cover

The wind direction has changed, so the crowd – including myself – has had to scramble to the top row to get out of the rain. It's an absolute downpour.

Fans scramble for cover to get out of a torrential downpour

Spare a thought for the refs, who are walking around in this deluge. If you look hard enough, you can see one of them in the background of this photo – protected from the elements only by a white raincoat.

Spectators (and the referees!) in protective raincoats

5:55 pm – Thunderstorm

We're underway between Japan and Italy in the women's water polo, and Italy have an early lead! Just 26 seconds in.

But what's this?

Stormy skies during the Japan v Italy women's water polo match at Gwangju 2019 (Photo: Olympic Channel)

It's pouring with rain at the arena.

We had the customary sprint to the ball to start the game, with the music from Rocky Balboa in the background.

But the rain is coming down so hard on the stand covers that the music is being drowned out. Excuse the pun.

Players race to the ball as Japan v Italy starts in women's water polo (Photo: Olympic Channel)

5:25 pm – Australia squeeze home

An epic women's water polo match, in which the scores were level in three of the quarters, has as seen Australia pip China 14-12.

The result means Australia now join China with one win and won loss atop Group D.

5:07 pm – China to get last two divers in final

It's a Chinese one-two in the women's 10m platform semifinal, which means Chen Yuxi and Lu Wei will dive 12th and 11th, respectively, in the final tomorrow evening.

China have also gained their two Olympic qualifying spots.

Caeli McKay and Meaghan Benfeito of Canada finish third and fourth in this semi.

There's huge grins elsewhere, like from Japan's Matsuri Arai, who finished 10th and qualified for the final.

Tokyo quota spots, too, for Italy, Australia, Great Britain, USA (two), Malaysia, and the Netherlands.

5:00 pm – Olympic spots

There's more than just a place in the final on the line here.

All 12 finalists will gain quota spots for Tokyo 2020 for their countries.

4:50 pm – Final round

The final round is now upon us.

Australia's Melissa Wu looked strong earlier in her third round dive, but has since fallen back slightly. The two Chinese divers lead heading into the last dives.

Australian Melissa Wu's in action performing her third dive in the Women's 10m platform semi-final (Photo: Olympic Channel)

4:32 pm – All eyes on 12th

China's Chen Yuxi leads after three rounds, but in reality the top athletes here are only diving to decide what order they go in the final.

The bulk of the attention here is on the divers sitting between ninth and 15th, as only the top 12 will make tomorrow's final.

3:51 pm – Benfeito ahead

The women's 10m Platform final is tomorrow evening, but this afternoon we're reducing the field from 18 to 12.

Just as in the preliminaries and it will be in the final, each athlete will have five dives.

Canadian Meaghan Benfeito leads after one round.


Finally! This is the moment I've been waiting for since landing in Korea.

For those that aren't familiar with Millennial pop dance routines, the "Gangnam Style" was a Korean-pop single from South Korean musician Psy, released in 2012. The repetitive song and its dance became a global phenomenon.

Here in Gwangju in 2019, we just had a Gangnam Style dance off and these ladies tore the house down! I believe they won some freebies too for their efforts.

The diving stars now!

Crowd members give their best rendition of the Korean Gangnam Style dance

3:10 pm – Diving and water polo coming up...

The next event up is the Women's 10m Platform Individual semi-final, where this morning's prelim winner Wei Lu is the heavy favourite once again.

We will also be live at the water polo arena later, where mighty Team USA will take on Netherlands, as they continue their world title defence.

Check out our video on the invincibles below!

2:30 pm – Russia seal top spot

Predictably, the Svetlana's qualified for the artistic swimming Duet Free final in first place.

The other seven teams joining them are China, Ukraine, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Greece and Austria, in that order.

The final takes place on Thursday evening

1:02 pm – Svetlanas chasing history in artistic swimming

Russia's Svetlanas, Kolesnichenko and Romashina are comfortably sitting in top spot in the Duet Free preliminary round.

Russia has won all previous six editions of this event at the world championships. Five-time Olympic gold medallist Romashina is chasing a fifth Duet Free world title. Kolesnichenko is a Team Olympic gold medallist from Rio 2016.

Japanese duo Yukiko Inui and Megumu Yoshida sit second, while Spain's Ona Carbonell and Paula Ramirez are third.

12:37 pm – Lu back on top

As expected, Chinese diver Wei Lu recovered from an early wobble to take the women's individual 10m platform preliminary round.

Canada's Meaghan Benfeito finished second, while Melissa Wu squeezed into third with solid showings.

The top 8 finishers will do battle again in the semi-final at 3.30 pm.

11:28 am – Early contenders for uniform of the competition...

How good are these efforts from Ukraine and Malaysia?

Everyone knows at sports events that, after the medals are won and lost, the next most important thing is who has the best kit / uniform / merch / stash... depending where you are from.

Ukraine's uniform is hard to miss, even in the colourful athletes village.
Malaysia embracing their national animal, the tiger, in Gwangju

10:55 am – Diving upset on the cards?

Over at the Nambu University diving centre, Japan's Rin Kaneto is winning the Women's 10m Platform Individual preliminary round.

Treble Olympic bronze medallist Meaghan Benfeito from Canada is second, while newly-crowned 10m Platform Synchro world champion Wei Lu from China is third.

The semi-final will take place this afternoon at 3:30 pm.

10:20 am – Wellbrock clinches open water thriller

Germany's Florian Wellbrock has won the Men's 10km open water swim title in a time of 1:47:55.

He pipped Marc-Antoine Olivier of France (silver) by less than a second, while fellow German Rob Muffels finished third, just two seconds adrift. What a race!

There is always a nervous moment at the end of an open water swimming race, where the 'official results' are only released once every competitor has finished, in case the final standings need to be adjusted due to time penalties.

Not this time though, and the Wellbrock is ecstatic with his gold medal.

9:50 am – Russia's women go top of Group B

Korea's brief moment of respite in the water polo was an isolated one. The hosts bravely battled to a 30-1 loss, although the final third was a particularly close-fought affair.

Russia now top Group B in the water polo with two wins from two, while Hungary in second have a game in hand.

9:41 am – Korea have their goal!

Unfortunately it looks to be another hammering for the hosts in water polo, with Korea's women currently trailing Russia 27–1.

It was 27–0, but you should have heard the roar when the home crowd got the goal they were craving.

While it is too late to rule out the comeback, the stadium has come alive!

9:22 am – Topiary goals...

The attention to detail when it comes to the Gwangju venues has been amazing.

Every bit of grass looks like a putting green, the venues are immaculate and there are some lovely, more fancy touches like this topiary at the open water swimming venue. See our Day 3 live blog for the athletes' village effort.

Spectacular topiary at the open water swimming venue

8:45 am – Beware the Invincibles...

When it comes to women's water polo, Team USA stand head and shoulders above the rest.

With 11 FINA World League titles and five Olympic medals since Sydney 2000, they are hoping to become the first team to win three world titles in a row in Gwangju.

Seven different players in the 2019 squad helped secure the United States' 2015 and 2017 world titles, while Rachel Fattal, Makenzie Fischer, Kiley Neushul, Margaret 'Maggie' Steffens and Melissa Seidemann all contributed towards their team's Rio 2016 Olympic gold medal.

The United States take on fellow unbeaten Group A team the Netherlands at 19:10 this evening and we will be pitch-side, giving you all the latest news and behind-the-scenes action.

8:12 am - Day 5 highlights

08:00 - 10:15 Open water swimming: Men's 10km final
08:30 - 13:35 Water Polo: Women's preliminary round
10:00 - 12:30 Diving: Women's 10m Platform Individual preliminary round
11:00 - 14:30 Artistic swimming: Duet Free preliminary round
14:15 - 16:00 Beach Water Polo: Women's matches
15:30 - 16:30 Diving: Women's 10m Platform Individual semi-final
16:30 - 21:35 Water Polo: Women's preliminary round
19:00 - 20:00 Artistic swimming: Team Technical final
20:45 - 22:15 Diving: 3m / 10m Team event final

8:00 am – We're live!

Hello, welcome back to the live blog and we hope you've had a good rest after last night's late night drama in the Men's 10m Platform Synchro.

There are three more medals up for grabs today in open water swimming, artistic swimming and diving.

It's already 23°C (73°F) on the ground in Gwangju, with some more of those humid showers set for later. Fingers crossed the men's 10km open water swim that has just kicked off will be unaffected.