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Russian synchronized swimmers in search of home World Trophy win

The best from the world of synchronized swimming are in Moscow this weekend to take part in the prestigious World Trophy event.

­The tournament is being viewed as a barometer for what could be in store at the 2012 Olympics. Synchronized Swimming's World Trophy is in Moscow for the second time and it is a unique competition for many reasons.

First of all, the squads consist both of the top swimmers and up-and-coming junior talent, allowing coaching staff to mix and match teams to get optimal future performances at the Olympic Games.

“Naturally, this is a chance to search for something new in synchronized swimming. Each sport tends to develop, and synchronized swimming is no exception. We are looking for new types of programs. So, you can also regard these competitions as an experimental base for developing synchronized swimming," Olga Brusnikina, three-time Olympic champ,  said.

Another trait that distinguishes the event from others on the international synchronized swimming calendar is the two-tier judging panel. One is professional – comprised of independent officials from non-participating countries – while the other consists of Olympic champions in other sports, as well as ballet experts and other leading arts figures.Another feature that makes this particular event stand out is the choice of routines for participating countries.

Teams are judged purely on their artistic merit, and one of the four showpieces must reflect the national theme of the country.Thankfully, for the athletes, there is no burden for them to try and earn Olympic qualification points, which leaves room for experimentation, trial and error.

But that is a luxury the teams will not be able to afford in the near future, with the 2012 Olympic Games in London fast approaching.

Despite its artistic and innovative nature, the FINA Synchronized Swimming World Trophy is still a competition, one that Russia has failed to win in the last couple of years.

Can they do it this year in front of their home fans? The results of the event will be known on Sunday as it concludes with a combination team event and a gala concert featuring Russia's Olympic Champions Maria Kiseleva and Olga Brusnikina.