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Chinese Divers, Russian Swimmers Triumphant
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China flexed its diving muscles once again racking up two more gold medals at the World Swimming Championships while Russia added to its gold haul with Vladimir Dyatchin winning the 10km open water title.

Luo Yutong, training since the age of seven, claimed the men's 1m springboard crown and 14-year-old rookie Wang Xin completed a bright day for China's next generation of athletes when she grabbed the women's 10m platform title to make it four-out-of four diving golds for China. This maintains China's quest for a clean sweep of all 10 diving medals.

Despite this success, Russia still tops the medal table with six golds to China's four thanks to the Russian women clinching the team technical synchronized swimming title.

Luo racked up a huge 477.40 points to overshadow compatriot He Chong who earned the silver and Christopher Sacchin of Italy who won bronze, but felt he could have done better.

"I didn't perform very well but also didn't perform very bad. I performed as usual," he said. "It's my first time (at a world championship) and I was pretty nervous. Next time I will be even better."

Teammate He blamed a loss of concentration and aims to regroup during the 3m springboard today, in which he is the world number one.

"I wanted to win, but I couldn't concentrate well. My teammate did very well, but I didn't do the best for myself," he said.

Luo Yutong (M), He Chong (R) and Christopher Sacchin

The petite Wang, only 14, proved she will be reckoned during the Olympics with another upset win over compatriot Chen Ruolin.

Chen, also 14, was the favorite but Wang shocked her back in December by whisking away the Asian Games title and did it again here after Chen dominated the preliminaries and semifinals.

Wang amassed 432.85 points to Chen's 410.30, with Germany's Christin Steuer a distant third on 361.80.

The victory also meant China reclaimed a title it had not lifted during the last two world championships.

Having already claimed the 3m men's synchronized gold and the women's 10m platform synchronized title, China looks well-set to claim all the diving gold medals on offer.

Wang Xin (M), Chen Ruolin (R) and Christin Steuer

Meanwhile, in Port Phillip Bay, Vladimir Dyatchin of Russia held off a charging Thomas Lurz of Germany to win the 10km open water title in a photo finish as "massive" jellyfish again took their toll.

Dyatchin, who retired back in 2004 but returned upon discovering the 10km race would be an Olympic event in Beijing next year, held his nerve to pip Lurz by just 0.06 of a second.

In contrast to the choppy women's event on Tuesday, the weather conditions were calm but jellyfish remained an issue for the swimmers.

"It's definitely not fun at all. They are just massive creatures, extra-extra large," said Lurz.

Dyatchin, whose body bears the scars of a car accident, said the race had not gone to plan and had given him tightest finish ever.

"The race didn't go the way I wanted. I'm used to winning comfortably," he said. "It was such a tight finish, but I could see that I won. It was also very physical. They've put in the big turning buoys which are inconvenient. While you go around, you get hit and there's lots of contact. My goggles came off twice and I had to stop to fix them."

Lurz, who won the 5km title on Sunday, revealed he had started his final sprint too late, costing him the race.

"It was so close, just one thousandth of a second. But that's luck and bad luck at the same time. Next year (at the Olympics) I'll be lucky," he said.

Russia, meanwhile, claimed their fourth successive synchronized swimming gold of the championships, taking the team technical title.

Their eight-woman team totaled 99.000 points with Japan second and Spain third. China just missed out on the podium, coming in fourth.

(China Daily March 22, 2007)

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