The girls of the Ukrainian synchro team arrived Tuesday morning by bus after three thousand kilometers of fear and hope. The last six of them, three athletes and three technicians, are expected tonight at the Federal Center. A day to settle down and get familiar with the new reality and immediately in the water with Giorgio Minisini, Lucrezia Ruggiero, Costanza Ferro and Linda Cerruti who have wanted to embrace them and show their solidarity since their arrival in Italy.
For the first training session, they wanted to offer a cameo of thanks: a combined exercise prepared in less than 24 hours and entitled “Italy supports Ukraine”.
“Each one brought their own exercises and their own music that we put together – explains the technical director of the Italian national team Patrizia Giallombardo – and it seems to me that the result was excellent. In the final part we chose to leave our athletes in the center with the others. in a circle as if it were a big hug. Such a combo would be a world podium”.
Italy and Ukraine had never trained together until now and this opportunity could open up to a new collaboration. “During the Pandemic we had done part of the sports training via Zoom, then at the Tokyo Olympics we had promised to train together – continues Giallombardo – but we did not imagine such a dramatic situation. They are masters in the pushing technique and in Japan we had the idea of being able to try them with them. This first internship at university was particularly exciting. It enriched us. They are wonderful girls.
They shared their first days at the Federal Center with the Azzurri, from tomorrow they will continue their training alone but always assisted by the Italian Swimming Federation which has made the entire structure available to them.
“We had the opportunity to talk to them – says Lucrezia Ruggiero, companion of the 2017 world champion in mixed doubles Giorgio Minisini – trying to support them even in the little things of everyday life. A practical example: yesterday we were at lunch, It was a beautiful day we were talking about the sun when a plane bound for Fiumicino passed. A normal noise for us, but we immediately saw the fear and worry in their eyes. An episode that left me made me identify with the situation in which their families live”.
The joint training of the Ukrainian synchronized swimming team and the Azzurri, led by technical managers Patrizia Giallombardo and Oleisia Zaitseva, represented the first real moment of serenity. A few hours during which they left the war out of the water and went back to swimming and smiling.
“We will never tire of thanking the President of the Italian Swimming Federation Paolo Barelli for giving us this opportunity- Sisters Marina and Vlada Alekseeva speak together – Forming us today after so many days has been a great joy. The journey has been long and tiring but, thanks to the Italian Swimming Federation, also a new beginning”.
“We are working for the European Championships in Rome 2022. They have started training in Ukraine, now we will continue to do so with more determination. Our families are far away but happy to know that we are safe. Thanks to all. We want to learn Italian!”.