Synchronized Swimming: Russia take team gold to sweep titles

LONDON Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:29am EDT

Russia's team celebrate winning the gold medal in the synchronised swimming teams free routine final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 10, 2012. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Russia's team celebrate winning the gold medal in the synchronised swimming teams free routine final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - Russia's synchronized swimmers swept to gold on Friday with an impeccably executed team routine punctuated by military drumbeats and spectacular acrobatic jumps, marking their fourth consecutive clean sweep at the Games.

China, an emerging force in the sport, pipped Spain to claim silver.

The Russians, who have won every duet and team gold since the Sydney Games, scored 98.93 points out of a possible 100 for their "free" routine, a sequence which is not prescribed and in which swimmers show off their creative and technical skills.

Friday's result was added to their top-scoring routine in the team technical round, taking them to a total of 197.03 points and an Olympic title.

Russia had already won gold in the synchronized swimming duet segment earlier this week.

China have shown dramatic improvement under Japanese-born coach Masayo Imura, known as the "mother of synchro" and scored 194.01 points to take the country's first silver in the sport.

Spain, silver medalists in the duet segment, were denied second spot by a fractionally lower synchronization score than their Chinese rivals, despite an ocean-inspired routine - swimmers in fish-scale suits - that had the crowd roaring approval at movements imitating crab pincers and ocean waves.

Japan missed out on the podium, ending the Games without a synchronized swimming medal for the first time since the sport was introduced at the Olympic Games in 1984.

(Reporting by Clara Ferreira-Marques; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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