Ishchenko wins another synch solo gold

ROME -- Natalia Ishchenko of Russia successfully defended her gold medal in the solo tech event in synchronized swimming at the world championships Monday.

Ishchenko totaled 98.667 points for execution and overall impression. Gemma Mengual of Spain again took silver with 97.833 points and Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon of Canada was third with 96.000.

Ishchenko swam to the opera notes of Luciano Pavarotti's "Sadness," Mengual chose a soul piece with Otis Redding's "I Have Been Loving You," and Boudreau-Gagnon used a rock piece.

The solo free and tech events began standing alone for separate medals at the last worlds in Melbourne, Australia, two years ago, when Ishchenko and Mengual also placed 1-2. It is not an Olympic event.

"Everything worked well," Ishchenko said. "Now it's time to start preparing for the 2012 London Olympics."

The 32-year-old Mengual won two silvers at last year's Beijing Games, but isn't sure she'll make it to London.

"I haven't decided yet what I'll do in the future," Mengual said.

Boudreau-Gagnon won her first major medal.

"It's really an honor for me to be on the podium with the best swimmers in the world," Boudreau-Gagnon said. "These girls have always been an example for me. I used to watch them on video trying to reach their high level."