Synchro, Day 4: Romashina on top, China’s Huang wins duel for silver
En route to her second world solo gold, Russia’s Svetlana Romashina held on to her imposing lead over China’s Xuechen Huang and local favourite Ona Carbonell to capture her country’s third consecutive title in the solo free.
The 24-year-old, the only one from the team in Barcelona to have competed at two Olympic Games (2008 and 2012), revealed her theatrical skills in a Marilyn Monroe-inspired routine, which reflected her energetic and likeable personality, scoring a total 97.340 points.
Ona Carbonell’s moving free programme paid tribute to her home Games in 1992, swimming to operatic soprano Montserrat Caballe’s duet with rock singer Freddie Mercury, the Barcelona-based swimmer’s magnificent performance lit up the Palau Sant Jordi and carried away the audience, earning a total 94.290 points from the judges.
Going into the final, Carbonell had a considerable weight on her shoulders: to repeat the silver obtained in the event by Spain’s solo icon Gemma Mengual in 2009 and Andrea Fuentes in 2011.
But Xuechen Huang from China, already owner of two world silver medals in the solo technical, proved too strong, edging the Iberian swimmer with an overall score of 95.720. For her first solo free performance, Huang chose a music piece by the Phantom of the Opera, showing her versatility and artistic talent in convincing fashion.
The fourth best was Ukraine’s Lolita Ananasova followed by the Japanese Inui Yukiko, fifth, and Chloe Isaac from Canada, in sixth place.
Gold medal winner: Svetlana Romashina (RUS)
“Today was more difficult because I was nervous, I was more confident in the technical programme. I want to thank my coach Tatiana Dachenko who believed in me and encouraged me to perform this routine.”
On Marilyn-Monroe theme of the routine: “It was the idea of my coach’s daughter, Elena, she has had this idea for the last two years but we didn’t know which athlete would do it. I felt comfortable in this role. I like the character so I was really happy to play this role.”
Silver medal winner: Xuechen Huang (CHN)
"I'm very happy to have won the silver medal and I'm very satisfied with my performance in two competitions. I think I need more than four years to catch up with Svetalana Romashina."
Bronze medal winner: Ona Carbonell (ESP)
Carbonell: “I’m very happy with this medal, I am performing seven routines at these World Championships so it is hard but I hope we continue like this for the rest of the competition.”
Coach Mayuko Fujiki: “It was very much first step for Ona to represent Spain as a solo swimmer, we had very little time to train so I am very proud of her. It was very hard for her to train with a new duet partner as well [Margalida Crespi].”
Spanish synchro icon Gemma Mengual: “Ona’s performance was better than in the preliminaries, I’m happy because she took into account the corrections we made in her routine and I saw her enjoying her performance.”
On seeing her competing tonight: “It’s like a prolongation of myself. When I was watching her, I remembered myself in 2003 when I won my first medal in the solo (also a bronze).”
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