• Kyodo

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Japan produced a solid performance Friday to swim off with the team synchronized swimming bronze at the Rio Games.

The eight-woman Japanese team, featuring duet bronze medalists Risako Mitsui and Yukiko Inui, scored 95.4333 points in Friday’s free routine to hang onto their third place position from the technical routine the day before and finish with 189.2056 points.

The Japanese were the last team to enter the pool in the competition, but Inui said she and her teammates considered that an edge.

“We actually thought it was lucky to be able to go last,” Inui said. “Since we would be the last performance of the competition, we would know the scores of everyone else and exactly what we needed to score to get a medal. We didn’t feel any pressure at all.

“The tears would not stop flowing (after winning the medal). We have had a lot of mountains to climb and the road has been rockier than I expected but it has led to this result.”

Mitsui said, “This is like a dream. I’m relieved as I felt we could not go back to Japan without winning a team medal. It has been a long four years but it feels like they have gone by in a flash.”

The medal was Japan’s first in the team synchro since capturing the silver at the 2004 Athens Games.

Russia, which struck gold for the fifth straight Olympics, finished with 196.1439 points, while China, the silver medal-winning team from 2012, finished runner-up again with 192.9841.

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