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Thursday, July 17
China closes gap with Russia in medal race

Associated Press

BARCELONA, Spain -- China swept the top two places in the men's 1-meter springboard Thursday to close in on Russia atop the medal standings at the World Swimming Championships.

Xu Xiang won gold and compatriot Wang Kenan took silver, giving China seven medals -- one fewer than Russia. China has won all of its medals in diving.

Xu scored 431.94 points, while Wang had 412.41. Finland's Joona Puhakka took bronze with 391.26. Russia's Alexander Dobroskok, who won gold in the 3-meter springboard Wednesday, finished fourth with 378.45 points.

In women's water polo preliminaries, the United States defeated Germany 10-4 to stay undefeated. In the other Group C match, Greece swept past France 7-1. Two-time defending world champion Italy also edged Spain 8-7.

Virginie Dedieu gave France its first medal of the championships, winning gold in synchronized swimming. Russia's Anastasia Ermakova took silver, which kept Russia ahead of China in the standings, and Gemma Mengual of Spain won bronze.

Dedieu was the favorite heading in to the competition, and her performance did not disappoint. She earned five perfect 10s for artistic impression and two 10s for technical merit.

"My aim was to perform perfectly, and I consider that the scores show I have achieved it,'' Dedieu said.

The high-profile events, in which the United States and Australia are expected to collect their share of medals, don't begin until Sunday. But the American swim team talked Thursday about its chances in the competition.

"This event could be the top event in swimming that we have ever seen,'' men's coach Dave Marsh said. "I think we are all postured for a thrilling meet.''

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