BARCELONA, Spain, July 18. Already first after the technical routine, and displaying a technically perfect program, Russians Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova got the approval of the judges and were awarded three "10's" for the artistic impression and six more "9.9's".
Finishing with a combined total of 99.084, it became obvious that the other routines couldn't have any chance to surpass the Russians. Second in Fukuoka two years ago, these two young ladies (both are 20 years old) had won the FINA World Cup in 2002 and are largely dominant at the European level.
In Japan, the "home factor" had worked in favor of Miya Tachibana and Miho Takeda, naturally the strongest contenders of the two Anastasias. In Barcelona, the experienced swimmers were not so successful and their 9.8-9.9's program reflects exactly what happened in the water: the Japanese were not up the Russian standard and couldn't better the place they got in the technical routine – second.
From here on, the rest of the presentations did not leave such an extraordinary impression in judges and spectators. Spain (Gemma Mengual and Paola Tirados) could not avoid some mistakes. The combined notes with the technical preliminaries allowed them to conquer the bronze medal. Spain won three medals for in three finals, definitively a historical moment for this country in the sport.
The Spanish synchronized swimmers had never won a single medal at a world level competition, and in Barcelona the intention of overcoming this situation has reached an unparalleled degree of success. Moreover, a new star was born: to Gemma Mengual entire pages of the local newspapers are devoted to her performances.
The ultimate question of the duet final was to know the level of the US team. Fighting directly with Spain for the third place on the podium, the Americans were clearly better (marks between 9.6 and 9.8) but the overall total in conjunction with the technical presentation was not enough to secure the bronze medal. The final blow for French duet (Laure Thibaud / Virginie Dedieu) for committing some major errors, the judges severely punished the routine sending them to sixth place.
"To those who say our program was maybe artistically poorer that the others, we simply answer them with the notes of the judges," considered Ermakova, silver medalist of the solo event. Mengual was also emphatic when asked about the predictions for the team event final. "Tired? No, our motivation is now so high that as we enter in the water we will be stronger than ever."
Americans Anna Kozlova and Alison Bartosik finished .33 points out of the medal standings to finish fourth.
WOMEN'S SYNCHRO FINAL DUET
Rank Athletes Country YOB Total
1 DAVYDOVA Anastasia RUS 83 99.084
ERMAKOVA Anastasia RUS 83
2 TACHIBANA Miya JPN 74 98.084
TAKEDA Miho JPN 76
3 MENGUAL Gemma ESP 77 96.667
TIRADOS Paola ESP 80
4 KOZLOVA Anna USA 72 96.334
BARTOSIK Alison USA 83
5 LETOURNEAU Fanny CAN 79 95.417
STEWART Courtenay CAN 85
6 THIBAUD Laure FRA 78 95.084
DEDIEU Virginie FRA 79
7 ZHANG Xiaohuan CHN 80 03.084
GU Beibei CHN 80
8 SPAZIANI Beatrice ITA 84 92.834
ZAFFALON Lorena ITA 81
9 SCHMID Belinda SUI 81 92.250
BRUNNER Magdalena SUI 83
10 THALASSINIDOU Christina GRE 70 92.168
FTOULI Eleftheria GRE 81
11 GAYUORONSKA Iryna UKR 83 91.834
YUSHKO Darya UKR 85
12 KIM Min Jeong KOR 81 90.834
SON Ho Kyung KOR 81