GLASGOW (Reuters) – Svetlana Kolesnichenko, the new dominant force of synchronised swimming, completed her immaculate and innovative five-day programme at the European Championships on Tuesday by doubling her gold medal tally to four.
As Russia rounded off another masterful championships with three golds, the 24-year-old Kolesnichenko repeated her quadruple haul from last year’s world championships in Budapest by taking the solo free and duet free titles.
She added them to the pair of technical golds she had already claimed at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.
For the second time, she teamed up for a golden duet with the outstanding 17-year-old Varvara Subbotina, adding the free title to the technical gold they had annexed on the opening day of the programme.
Their total of 96.7000, which relegated Ukraine’s Anastasiya Savchuk and Yelyzaveta Yakhno (93.4000) to silver and Italians Linda Cerruti and Costanza Ferro (92.1333) to bronze, was even superior to the mark they had been awarded in their technical routine.
After a three-hour break, Kolesnichenko returned to her solo speciality, again comfortably defeating Cerruti, who took silver, and bronze winner Yakhno.
“I’m going to sleep now and I’m sleeping for a week,” Kolesnichenko smiled. “I am happy but I am also so tired that maybe I will be happier in a week.”
The work ethic, she insisted, was what kept Russian synchro so far ahead of the field.
“We work for 10 or 12 years to get to the top, to be the best and to get higher. Everyone says, ‘oh Russia, they are so good at synchronised swimming’ but it is hard to be first all the time.
“It is work and more work. We need more than 24 hours in the day to do it.”
To underline their dominance — the only one of the nine golds on offer that Russia did not win was one in which they decided not to enter — Aleksandr Maltsev and Mayya Gurbanberdieva added the mixed duet free title ahead of Italy and Spain.
(Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond)