Russia and China may have placed higher than Spain’s synchronized swimming team… But las sirenas españolas proved to be the darlings of la piscina at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Spain claimed the bronze on Friday in the synchronized swimming team competition at the London Games, just missing out on repeating their silver-earning performance at the 2008 Olympic Games by less than a point.
China earned the silver with a final score of 194.010, Spain claimed the bronze with a 193.12. The point difference? A mere 0.89 points. But that oh-so-close showing didn’t dampen Spain’s spirits.
“We were very happy to have the bronze. We didn’t expect to get silver,” said Spanish swimmer Thais Henríquez. “The routine went very well and we were very pleased to have achieved our objectives. What we wanted to do was to make the team shine.”
The Spanish definitely did shine brighter than the sun throughout the competition, especially during their free routine…
Decked out in outrageous Cheresque costumes, the team shimmered in and out of the water in their silver mirrored suits and matching caps that resembled fish scales to perform an underwater-themed routine.
It took an hour for the nine swimmers to get into their suits and a special glue was used to adhere the suits and caps to their skin, according to Spain’s coach Elisabet Fernandez said. The swimmers even cut their hair to make their costumes work.
“We were shocked when the Spanish team cut their hair, but they did everything they could for the victory,” said Natalia Ishchenko of Russia, who took home the gold, as expected, with a final score of 197.030.
Spain’s two biggest moves involved one swimmer diving over the top of another who formed a bridge with her back fully arched out of the water — supported by four swimmers — and a swimmer who appeared to be walking on water as the others held her up from underneath. The team imitated dolphins, sharks and waves during the ocean creatures-themed routine that earned 96.920.
Spain will leave the London Games with two medals in synchronized swimming, including Andrea Fuentes Fache and Ona Carbonell Ballestero’s silver in the duet competition.
Along with Henríquez, Fuentes and Carbonell, this year’s team consists of Clara Basiana, Alba Cabello, Margalida Crespí, Henríquez, Paula Klamburg, Irene Montrucchio and Laia Pons.