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Russians' routine meets gold standard

Russia’s synchronised swimmers swept to gold today 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.

Today’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 synchronised 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 medallists in the duet segment, were denied second spot by a fractionally lower synchronisation 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 synchronised swimming medal for the first time since the sport was introduced at the Olympic Games in 1984.

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