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SHANGHAI, China, July 22. THE queen of synchronized swimming has yet to be ousted from the top of the podium this year as Russia's Natalia Ishchenko steamrolled to her 16th career world title in the duet routine of the FINA World Championships.
Ishchenko, and partner Svetlana Romashina, tallied 98.410 points for the victory. It is the third consecutive world title in the event for the Russians as Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova won the previous two titles in 2007 and 2009.
"When we choreographed this routine, we want something different," Russian coach Tatiana Danchenko said. "This theme was Natalia's inspiration combined with other teammates' idea. Our girls hope this new routine can achieve everyone's recognition. Blending art with sport needs lots of time and practice. I would listen to music on vacation to find the right piece."
In sum, Ishchenko now has 16 world titles, as well as a pair of silver medals in world championship competition. Her triumphs have come in the technical solo routine (2007, 2009, 2011), solo free (2009, 2011), technical duet (2009, 2011), duet free (2009, 2011), team (2005), technical team (2007), free team (2007, 2009) and combination free (2005, 2007, 2011).
China's Jiang Tingting and Jiang Wenwen took the silver with 96.810 points, improving from bronze in the 2009 edition of the event.
"We practiced the routine every day and gave it all out in the competition so the performance is passionate," Jiang Wenwen said. "The competition is really important to us because we just resumed training three months ago. I'm grateful to my younger sister Tingting and my coach. The competition is also a chance for us to learn from other swimmers."
Spain's Ona Carbonell and Andrea Fuentes wound up with bronze with 96.500 points, down from a pair of silver-medal outings in 2007 and 2009.
Canada's Elise Marcotte and Marie-Pierre Boudreau-Gagnon took fourth with 94.950 points, while USA's Mary Killman and Lyssa Wallace finished 11th with 86.190 points.