FINA World Championships, Synchronized Swimming: Russia Wins, Natalia Ishchenko Improves Career World Title Tally to 15

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SHANGHAI, China, July 21. RUSSIA's Natalia Ishchenko added another world title to her impressive collection as Russia topped the free combination routine in synchronized swimming at the FINA World Championships.

The squad of Anastasia Davydova, Maria Gromova, Ishchenko, Elvira Khasyanova, Svetlana Kolesnichenko, Daria Korobova, Aleksandra Patskevich, Svetlana Romashina, Alla Shishkina and Anzhelika Timanina dominated the competition this evening with 98.470 points. The win is Russia's third in fourth tries, as Spain picked up the free combination title in 2009.

"Our coach said our show was wonderful today with our theme "Carmen," Ishchenko said. "We practice 10 hours per day."

All combined, Ishchenko now has 15 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), team (2005), technical team (2007), free team (2007, 2009) and combination free (2005, 2007, 2011).

Much to the enjoyment of the partisan crowd, China's Chang Si, Chen Xiaojun, Fan Jiachen, Guo Li, Huang Xuechen, Liu Ou, Luo Xi, Sun Wenyan, Wu Yiwen and Yu Lele earned silver with 96.390 points. It is the second straight time China has won the silver in the event.

"I felt a little nervous but also excited," Chang said. "The coach and staff have done a lot for us, so we can make great progress. I think we will continue to improve through hard work."

Canada's Genevieve Belanger, Marie-Pierre Boudreau-Gagnon, Stephanie Durocher, Jo-Anne Fortin, Chloe Isaac, Stephanie Leclair, Tracy Little, Elise Marcotte, Karine Thomas and Valerie Welsh took bronze with 96.150 points.

"We are the happiest girls in the world," Welsh said. "The team didn't expect this. I think we did really well. When we saw the score, we were over-excited."

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