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Putin congratulates Russian synchronized swimmers on Olympic gold

The president wished the swimmers good luck and new high achievements

MOSCOW, August 19 /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Russian synchronized swimmers Natalya Ishchenko, Svetlana Romashina, Svetlana Kolesnichenko, Alexandra Patskevich, Yelena Prokofyeva, Gelena Topilina, Vlada Chigiryova, Alla Shishkina and Maria Shurochkina on winning an Olympic gold medal in the synchronized swimming team event in Rio de Janeiro.

"I congratulate you on your triumphant performance at the Olympic Games in Rio. You have demonstrated the qualities of true champions and team spirit; you have shown a very complicated technique and impeccable performance; you put a bright final dot in the synchronized swimming competitions," Putin wrote in a telegram of greetings published on Kremlin’s official website.

The president wished the swimmers good luck and new high achievements.

The Russian synchronized swimmers scored a total of 196.1439 points after two programs (technical and free routines).

The Chinese team took a silver medal (192.9841) while Japan was third with bronze (189.2056).

Svetlana Romashina and Natalya Ishchenko have won their fifth Olympic title (two times in duets and three times in team event) repeating the record of their compatriot Anastasiya Davydova.

The Russian national synchronized swimming team won Olympic team events in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.

The Russian women’s synchronized swimming team has a good substitutes’ bench, and a potential retirement of five-time Olympic champions Natalya Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina can hardly be a blow to the rest of the team.

Ishchenko and Romashina won gold medals both in duets and in the team event in Rio. After their victory in duets earlier this week, the swimmers said they would make serious career decisions after the Olympics.

"I think that we have a very good substitutes’ bench. Russia is the leader in world synchronized swimming, including juniors and youth teams. They win European and world championships. Therefore, we will have a good replacement even if Sveta and I retire," Ishchenko told journalists on Friday.

"I feel great. I am overwhelmed with emotions when I realize that Sveta and I are five-time Olympic champions. We controlled our feelings for so long for fear of splattering our emotions but now we can give vent to our feelings and enjoy our victories in full measure," the synchronized swimmer said.

The Russians scored 99.1333 points in the free routine final. "It is an absolute record under a new judging system. When we got out of the water and saw the scores, we understood that we had won. We had a huge lead after the technical routine and scoring more points was simply impossible," Ishchenko went on to say.

The Russian women presented their Olympic free routine called "Molba" (prayer) at the World Championships in 2015. It was slightly modified for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"It’s always easier for the audience to watch a funny and cheerful performance rather than a prayer. It is much more difficult to convey these feelings to the viewers. But I think that we coped with the task," Ishchenko stressed.