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Flying with water wings: The beauty and stunning acrobatics of synchronised swimmers as they battle it out for Olympic gold

Saturday, August 11, 2012
By JILL REILLY

Double crab: Spain's team compete in the team free routine final during the synchronised swimming competition

As their glamorous costumes glistened in the water today, the Olympic synchronised swimmers made their sport look deceptively graceful from the poolside.
But they were using their strength, pinpoint precision and stamina to ensure their movements flowed against the backdrop of the aqua blue water at the Aquatics Centre.
Listening intently to the music played out through underwater speakers, they exercised their tremendous breath control, knowing execution is crucial to their success.

Graceful: One of the Spanish competitors back flips through the water elegantly

Mid-flight: A synchronised swimmier representing Egypt flies through the air like a bird

Synchronised swimming is one of two Olympic disciplines contested only by women - the other is rhythmic gymnastics.
After a closely-fought battle 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.

Perfection: The team from China hold a pose in the pool. The Chinese won a silver medal earlier in the week and are hotly tipped to be amongst the medalists once again

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.

Flipping and spinning: Teams took to the water today to show off their skills in the water

Determined: Precision and strength are both key skills for competitors in the sport

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.

Great Britain show a team effort as they hold one of their competitors in the air

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.

High hopes: Russia had already won gold in the synchronised swimming duet segment earlier this week

Britain's synchronised swimmers today came in sixth place in their first ever Olympics, meeting the target set by their coach.
The squad performed their Peter Pan-themed free routine today, achieving a combined score of 175.4 including yesterday's technical piece.
Jennifer Knobbs, 23, said she was pleased with how the ground-breaking team had done.
'It was an incredible performance, all our highlights functioned and we really felt as a team underwater. Hearing the crowd cheering, supporting us the whole way, really gives you the boost to perform that much more.'



source: dailymail