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 Natalia Ischenko

Born:   8 April 1986

Russian Synchronized Swimming Champion, Olympics-2012 Gold Champion


Natalia Ischenko is a Russian sportsman in synchronized swimming, an Olympic Games Champion, 16-times World Champion and 7-times European Champion, the absolute European Champion of 2010 and the first synchronized swimmer who was able to win all 4 synchronized competitive events. She is the member of Russian National Team and Honoured Master of Sports in Russia.


 Natalia Ischenko was born in Smolensk on the 8th of April 1986. Soon after her birth her parents moved to Kaliningrad. When Natalia was five, her mother sent her to two different sport groups - rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming. But soon it became hard for Natalia to attend two groups at once, so she chose synchronized swimming. 

For the next 10 years Natalia was trained by Kaliningrad sports specialists - Svetlana Ustyugova, Lada Stepanovich and Lyudmila Mizina. They all have contributed to Natalia Ishchenko's future wins. She is grateful to Svetlana Ustyugova for the choreography and to Lada Stepanovich and Lyudmila Mizina for the technical training. Later 14-years-old Natalia moved to Moscow to train at the famous Moscow Olympic Center of Aquatics. 

    In preparing for the European Championship Natalia and the other members of National Team took part in the Russian Open Championship, where Natalia presented her new solo routines. For the short routine Natalia and her coach chose the music of Saint-Saëns and for the optional routine - the music from the "The Passion of the Christ" movie. Natalia won with an evident advantage, leaving Ukrainian Daria Dashko and Muscovite Yulia Shepeleva behind. In group exercises together with the National Team (Maria Gromova, Olga Kuzhela, Anna Nasekina, Elena Ovchinnikova, Svetlana Romashina, Elvira Hasyanova, Anna Shorina, Sofia Volkova, Alexandra Elchinova, Ekaterina Efremova, Elizaveta Stepanova) Natalia also won a gold medal.

    At the European Championship of 2006 in Budapest Ischenko took part in 3 competitve events from 4 and became a 3-times champion within 24 hours. Out of all 3 wins the most cherished for Natalia was the win in solo rouitne. 

"That is my favourite kind of synchronized swimming. Actually it is not synchronous at all, but that's why I like it. When you don't think about your partners the whole time, you can show youself in full, to reveal your individuality. I feel the best in my work, and it is a fantastic feeling! I have identified the problem and then I have solved it successfully. I think my character helped me in it or rather some of my traits, such as assiduity, obstinacy, meanness... Yes, even not my best traits helped me to win. But, to be honest, I am sure that Russian sportsmen win because of their coaches. They are just the best coaches in the world", Natalia said.

After her triumph at the European Championship Natalia Ischenko repeated her success at the World Cup in Yokohama, where she won gold medals in solo, group and combination routines.

The 2007 season was open with the Russian Open Cup where Natalia presented her new solo routine named "Memoirs of a Geisha" with music from the eponymous movie. The programme was very expressive and full a lot of  difficult technical elements and interesting art devices. The judges and audience could not remain indefferent to the perfomance, and Natalia won another gold medal.

In 2009 at the World Championship in Rome Natalia Ishchenko became a 9-times world champion. She won technical and optional solo routines and optional duet routine together with Svetlana Romashina. The next year Natalia became a 4-times champion of the European Championship in Budapest.

2011 has been the year of Ischenko's triumph. At the World Championship in Shanghai she won 5 golden medals and became a 16-times world champion. She won in technical and optional solo routines, in technical duet routine   (together with Svetlana Romashina again) and in group routines together with the Russain National Team. 

Russian coach Tatiana Danchenko said Ishchenko had a lot to do with the process. "When we choreographed our recent routine for the World Championship, we wanted something different," Danchenko said. "This theme was Natalia's inspiration combined with other teammates' idea. Blending art with sport needs lots of time and practice."

 Ischenko admitted that all those golds came with hard work: just before major events like the world championships and the Olympics, she trains for up to 10 hours a day. "The secret of our achievement is that we train for many hours, and our country's team is always the best,"  Ishchenko said in somewhat of an understatement after her win in the solo free event. 

Together with Svetlana Romashina, Natalia Ischenko has won Gold at the Pairs Synchronised Swimming at the Olympic Games in London in 2012. 

Natalia Ischenko is married to Sergey Anikin, the silver medal winner of the European Diving Championship.


  • The Order of Friendship (for a valuable contribution to the development of physical culture and sport in Russia and for high achievements on the XXIX Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing).
  • The Honoured Master of Sports in Russia.
  • The Best Sportswoman 2009 (according to Russian Sport Journalists Federation)
  • The Best Synchronized Swimmer 2009 (according to the European Swimming League LEN)
  • The Best Synchronized Swimmer 2010 (according to the European Swimming League LEN)

Sources: Yahoo Sports Wikipedia (rus)

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Tags: Natalia Ischenko Russian sportsmen Russian sport synchronized swimming  

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