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SHANGHAI, China, July 19. WHILE much of the early attention has been on China's dominance of diving, as the host nation has swept every gold medal on offer so far, Russia has equaled the challenge in synchronized swimming. After three days of competition at the FINA World Championships, Russia has emerged with a three-for-three gold medal sweep thus far.
Russia's team of Anastasia Davydova, Maria Gromova, Elvira Khasyanova, Svetlana Kolesnichenko, Daria Korobova, Aleksandra Patskevich, Alla Shishkina and Anzhelika Timanina crushed the competition in the technical team routine with 98.300 points for the country's third straight victory in the event. The technical team routine first began being offered at the 2007 World Championships, and Russia had previously won both the 2007 and 2009 editions of the event.
"First, I want to congratulate China and Spain," Timanina said. "Today's competition was top standard. We are not perfect and lots of things should be improved. Although Russia is a powerhouse of synchronized swimming, the sport is not popular in Russia. Hopefully our country and compatriots can help us to further promote the sport. My teammates are very extraordinary. I believe we can enjoy our own life when we're retired."
China's Chang Si, Huang Xuechen, Jiang Tingting, Jiang Wenwen, Liu Ou, Luo Xi, Sun Wenyan and Wu Yiwen gave the host nation a silver with a 96.800 for second-place honors. That is an improvement from the bronze-medal effort from China in 2009.
Spain's Ciara Basiana, Alba Cabello, Ona Carbonell, Marga Crespi, Andrea Fuentes, Thais Henriquez, Paula Klamburg and Cristina Salvador placed third with 96.000 points after taking silver in the event in 2009.
Notably, the U.S. contingent finished ninth overall with 87.900 points.
In preliminary competition, Russia led the way in the free combination team routine with 97.970 points. That squad includes Natalia Ishchenko. China qualified second with 96.320 points, while Spain (95.640) and Canada (95.250) held third and fourth. Spain won the event in 2009, while Russia took home the gold in 2007.
Ishchenko returned in the duet routine with new teammate Svetlanda Romashina to dominate qualifying with 98.490 points. China's Jiang Tingting and Jiang Wenwen qualified second with 96.770 points, while Spain's Ona Carbonell and Andrea Fuentes took third with 96.020 points. Mary Killman and Lyssa Wallace qualified 10th overall for the United States with 87.970 points.
The preliminary rounds from today put Ishchenko in position to claim her 14th and 15th world titles in synchronized swimming.