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SHANGHAI, China, July 17. THE queen of synchronized swimming, Natalia Ishchenko, claimed her third straight world title in the technical solo category at the 2011 FINA World Championships held in Shanghai.
Ishchenko turned in a 98.30-point tally for the victory to add to her two other world titles in the event since it began being offered in 2007. The win is Ishchenko's seventh world title overall in her career.
"My coach said my performance was good," Ishchenko said. "It was not my highest score. I will take part in solo, duets and team this year, so I'm tired. The Spanish swimmer, Andrea Fuentes, did a great job."
China's Huang Xuechen took home silver with 96.50 points to give the host nation its first ever medal in a solo event in synchronized swimming.
"The latter part of my show was not that perfect," Huang said. "I didn't expect a silver medal. Gold? Maybe next time. Natalia always has a strong expression."
Fuentes captured third-place honors with 95.30 points, giving Spain its third straight medal in the event. Gemma Mengual took second to Ishchenko at both the 2007 and 2009 events.
"I'm proud of myself. I want to win," Fuentes said. "I think China's competitor was doing a good job. It reminds me that we were at a low position before, but we won the second place. China is now like Spain. They (China) have improved."
Mary Killman finished 11th overall for the United States with 87.10 points.
In technical duet preliminaries, Russia's Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina led the way with 97.50 points, while China's Huang Xuechen and Liu Qu qualified second with 95.80 points. Spain's Ona Carbonell and Andrea Fuentes placed third with 94.40 points. The U.S. duo of Mary Killman and Lyssa Wallace qualified eighth with 89.00 points.
"Our coach told us we made some mistakes and we must not do them in the final," Ishchenko said. "The swimmers from Spain and China are very strong, and we will try our best in the final."
The technical duet competition is only in its third World Championships. Russia won gold in both the 2007 and 2009 editions, and this year looks no different with Ishchenko and Romashina putting up a strong preliminary session. The win would be Ishchenko's second straight in the event. Spain has won the previous two silvers, while China (2009) and Japan (2007) split bronze.
Results: FINA World Championships, Synchronized Swimming, Day One
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Courtesy of: Swimming World