China claimed the team free combination silver in the synchronized swimming competition at the World Championships in Rome yesterday, thanks to a performance that included pieces from Swan Lake.
It was China’s third medal in synchronized swimming in Rome, having won two bronze medals in the technical team and the technical duet.
“We are quite satisfied with the result,” China’s captain Zhang Xiaohuan said.
“As Russia did not compete in this event, we knew this would be a really good chance for us to win a medal. It all depended on Canada’s performance. We could not expect anything better.”
China won its best ever result in history in the event at the worlds with a score of 97.667 points, edged by Spain, who rocked its way to gold with 98.333 points. Canada snatched the bronze medal as their jerky routine to techno music scored 96.167 points, leaving host Italy in fourth with 95.667 points.
The Russians, who did not have a team in this final, had dominated the discipline in Rome so far with victory in the team technical event followed by wins in the technical solo and duet classes.
Spain, who performed a bold routine to Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, won its first ever World Championships gold medal in synchronized swimming.
And it was particularly poignant for veteran Gemma Mengual, who had won 15 previous medals at the World Championships in the solo, duet and team events. This was her first ever gold.
Spain coach Anna Tarres, a former competitor, described the victory as an historic moment for synchronized swimming in her country.
“I took part in my first world championships in 1998 and we finished last in the rankings,” she said. “Now 11 years later, we’ve won the gold medal. This medal represents a lesson in life, from being nothing to becoming the best in the world.”
Spanish team member Raquel Corral said they had finally been rewarded for their hard work.
“I am very excited, I can’t believe it,” she said. “During the last 11 years we worked so hard to move up the world ranking.”