• Kyodo

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Japan won the silver medal behind Russia in the synchronized swimming team final with a score of 98.334 to the defending champion’s 98.750 at the World Swimming Championships on Saturday. The United States took third.

Japan had led the field after Monday’s technical routine but fell second to Russia after the free routine a day later. Miya Tachibana and Miho Takeda, who won the silver in the duet final, are among the eight women on the Japanese team.

On the final day of synchronized swimming competition at Piscinas Bernat Picornell, Russia began its flawless performance to “Eagle” with a towering lift and earned four perfect scores for artistic impression while Japan saw three 9.9s for arts and one 9.9 for technique.

It was Japan’s third straight silver medal finish in the team discipline at the World Swimming Championships.

Later Russia picked up another gold medal to push its event-leading total to seven in the World Swimming Championships.

Russian distance swimmer Yury Kudinov won the 25-km open-water swim in 5 hours, 2 minutes, 20 seconds. It was a photo finish with Spain’s David Meca 0.4 behind and Bulgarian Peter Stoichev 0.6 back.

Kudinov’s victory was his fourth straight in major competitions. He also won the 25K at the 2000 Open Water World Championships, the 2001 World Championships and the 2002 Open Water World Championships.

Open water swimming is not an Olympic event.

“It wasn’t easy,” Kudinov said. “Maybe I was just lucky. I didn’t believe that I could win.”

Runnerup Meca was emotional upon learning the result.

Asked if he thought he’d won, he replied: “The truth is I closed my eyes and I didn’t know myself. We all deserved first place. In my swimming career I’ve never seen so close a race.”

The Netherlands won its first gold medal when Edith Van Dijk took the 25-km swim.

In a sprint finish that began with the leading swimmers slightly off course, the Dutchwoman used a straighter line to the finish in 5:35:43.5 ahead of Germans Britta Kamrau (5:35:46.1) and Angela Maurer (5:35:46.5).

“In the last few kilometers there was a very hard current and in the last 500 meters the race got very tough,” Van Dijk said. “I just had a better line. I knew they were on my feet — I could feel them — but as long as they were on my feet I knew I was OK.”

Defending world champion Viola Valli of Italy, who won the 5K and 10K races earlier in the week, did not participate.

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