• Kyodo

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Japanese synchronized swimmers put on a festive performance in the technical routine of the team competition Thursday but fell short of the Russians in the scoring to go into the free routine final in second place at the Athens Olympics.

News photoJapan’s synchronized swimming team performs during the team technical routine on
Thursday in Athens.

Japan received 48.833 points for execution and 49.500 for overall impression to total 98.333 points at the Olympic Aquatic Centre, a full point behind Russia, the gold medal winner at the 2000 Sydney Games.

The Japanese team of Michiyo Fujimaru, Saho Harada, Naoko Kawashima, Emiko Suzuki, Miya Tachibana, Miho Takeda, Juri Tatsumi and Yoko Yoneda impressed the crowd at the outdoor pool with their program to “Awaodori,” a regional summer folkdance from Tokushima Prefecture.

After diving into the water in succession in the image of a continual wave, the eight women carried out the required elements, including an acrobatic move, a simultaneous rapid head-first rise above the water and synchronized ballet leg moves.

The highlight came when the team, coached by Masayo Imura, executed what looked like a human windmill when the members sequentially circled their legs above the water.

“I think the whole team is satisfied with the way we performed today,” said Tachibana, who with Takeda won the silver medal in the duet final Wednesday. “I had hoped the result of our duet yesterday would serve as a springboard to get the team going.”

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