canada-306

The Canadian team performs its free combination during the preliminary round en route to a bronze medal in Rome at the World Aquatics Championships. ((Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press))

Canada's synchronized swimming team won bronze in free combination at the World Aquatics Championships on Wednesday, raising Canada's medal count to four. 

After placing third in the preliminary round the day before, Canada held its position, scoring 9.6s and 9.7s to claim third place with an overall score of 96.167.

This marks Canada's second synchro bronze in Rome, and only its second synchro world championship medal since 2001.

Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., has had a hand in both podium finishes. The 26-year-old won bronze in the synchro solo tech event on Monday, and was also a member of the free combination team.   

The Canadians had been shut out of synchro medals at the last three world championships.

"Canada have come back," said team member Sandy Gill of Coquitlam, B.C. "We are so happy."

Spain won gold with a routine to Led Zepplin's Stairway to Heaven that even saw the team break out a little air guitar, earning scores ranging from 9.7 to 9.9 for a total of 98.333 points. China won silver with 97.667.

The gold is a first in synchronized swimming at this competition for Spain, which had settled for silver in the first three events, each time behind Russia.

With the dominant Russians not competing in the free combination event, Spain, the perennial runners-up, took advantage.

Italy placed fourth, losing to Canada by a half-point.

Canada's team, which performed a routine depicting dancing in the streets, also includes Camillie Bowness, Jo-Annie Fortin, Eve Lamoureux, Stephanie Leclair, Elise Marcotte, Karine Thomas, Chloe Isaac and Valerie Welsh of Quebec.

With files from The Associated Press