Making waves: Meet the Russian synchronized swimmers sweeping the board at the World Championships
Leading the way for Russia at the ongoing World Championships in Gwangju is synchronized swimming legend Svetlana Romashina.
The five-time Olympic champion won a record 20th world title when she claimed gold in the Women’s Solo Free event on Wednesday – her second gold of the competition.
The 29-year-old star has titles in team, duet and solo events during a glittering career, winning Olympic golds in Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro.
Her more than decade of dominance at the World Championships extends back to her first title in Montreal in 2005.
Based on her performances in South Korea, she is showing no sign of slowing up in her quest for even more gold.
Svetlana Kolesnichenko got Russia’s gold medal rush underway in South Korea when she won the Solo Technical event on Saturday.
For Kolesnichenko, 25, it was a 14th world title – and she only had to wait one day until the next one arrived, teaming up with Romashina to win the Women’s Duet Technical.
Kolesnichenko also has an Olympic gold to her name from the Rio Olympics in 2016.
As with Romashina, the medal-winning machine will now have her sights firmly set on Olympic glory next summer in Tokyo.
RUSSIA'S TEAM STARS
Russia's success in South Korea extends to the team events as the country took gold in the Team Technical final on Tuesday, beating China into second and Ukraine into third.
The victory meant Russia have won the eight-member Team Technical world title each year since its introduction as a separate event in 2007.Also on rt.com WATCH: Russia’s synchronized swimmers produce mesmerizing routine to win World Championship gold
Russia’s current crop of talent includes some long-term stalwarts as well as younger stars.
Vlada Chigireva, 24, is an established member of the team and the gold in South Korea means she has racked up nine world titles, to go with the Olympic gold she won with the group in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Maria Shurochkina is another 24-year-old member of the team and is also now a nine-time world champion, as well as an Olympic gold medalist in Rio.
At 29, Alla Shishkina has been one of the mainstays of Russia’s successes in recent years, winning two Olympic golds and 12 world titles stretching back to Rome in 2009.
Polina Komar, 19, is a newer member of the team. She triumphed with the team in Glasgow at the European Championships last summer and added a first world title gold to that in South Korea this week.
Like Komar, 20-year-old Mayya Doroshko is another graduate from Russia’s steady production line of synchronized swimming stars, and claimed her first gold in South Korea as part of the nine-member Technical team.
Veronika Kalinina, 20, is also one of the junior members of the team but is already now a three-time World Champion, adding to her wins with the group in Budapest in 2017.
Anastasia Arkhipovskaya, also 20, similarly claimed a third world title in South Korea and will be part of the team’s plans in Tokyo.
The same is true for Marina Goliadkina, 22, who won her first title in Gwangju this week.
MIXED DUET STARS
Russia’s men have also been making waves in South Korea, as Aleksandr Maltsev joined Mayya Gurbanberdieva to win gold in the Mixed Duet Technical event.
It’s a third World Championship gold for Maltsev, 24, after wins in Kazan in 2015 and Budapest two years ago, but is his first since teaming up with Gurbanberdieva last year.
Gurbanberdieva, 20, claimed her first world title in South Korea but has four European titles to her name.
With more events still to come in the pool in South Korea, Russia will be looking to continue their synchronized swimming domination.