Romashina grabs synchro gold again

BARCELONA, Spain -- With a nod to Marilyn Monroe, Svetlana Romashina won her third gold medal of the swimming world championships with a victory in the synchronized solo Wednesday.

Romashina easily took the top spot with 97.340 points, increasing her career haul to 13 world championship golds dating to 2005. China's Huang Xuechen won silver with 95.720, while Spain's Ona Carbonell took bronze before the home crowd at the Palau Sant Jordi arena with 94.290.

The 23-year-old Romashina said she got the idea to perform a Monroe-inspired routine, accompanied by music from the 1959 comedy "Some Like It Hot," from the daughter of her coach, Tatiana Dachenko.

"She has had this idea for the last two years but we didn't know which athlete would do it," Romashina said. "I felt comfortable in this role. I like the character, so I was really happy to play this role."

Romashina added to her wins in the solo technical, where the top three were exactly the same, and the duet technical teaming with Svetlana Kolesnichenko. Russia has won the first four synchronized events at these world championships and is heavily favored to duplicate its sweep of all seven golds in Shanghai two years ago.

China has taken three silver medals, while Spain has a silver and three bronzes.

The Barcelona-based Carbonell paid tribute to her home city's 1992 Olympic Games, swimming to operatic soprano Montserrat Caballe's duet with rock singer Freddie Mercury. The Palau Sant Jordi is located in the Olympic park atop Montjuic, next door to the main stadium.

"I am performing seven routines at these world championships, so it is hard," Carbonell said. "But I hope we continue like this for the rest of the competition."

Huang claimed silver with a routine performed to "Phanton of the Opera." She knew all along that her main goal was the hang on to the second spot on the podium, not make a run at the Russian star.

"I'm very happy to have won the silver medal and I'm very satisfied with my performance," Huang said. "I think I need more than four years to catch up with Svetlana Romashina."