BARCELONA, Spain — German pair Sascha Klein and Patrick Hausding won the gold medal in the men's synchronized 10-meter platform on Sunday, bringing an end to China's run of three consecutive titles at the swimming world championships.
The silver medalists from the 2011 worlds and 2008 Olympics proved to be the most consistent twosome through all six rounds to win the tight final with a score of 461.46 points.
Russian duo Victor Minibaev and Artem Chesakov took silver with 445.95, while Olympic champions Cao Yuan and Zhang Yanquan of China earned bronze with 445.56.
"It feels just awesome to be here right now," Hausding said. "I was dreaming about being a world champion all my diving life and today it finally happened. Nobody can take that away from me. It's just positive feelings and positive motivation for the next two or three years until the Rio (de Janeiro Olympics)."
Svetlana Kolesnichenko and Svetlana Romashina were flawless to the tune of a Michael Jackson tribute, winning the duet technical with 97.300 points. Romashina opened the synchro competition Saturday by winning the solo technical.
Chinese twins Jiang Tingting and Jiang Wenwen took silver with 94.900, and Ona Carbonell and Margalida Crespi gave Spain their second consecutive bronze with 93.800.
Germany may not have pulled off the most spectacular dives at the Montjuic Municipal pool with its views of Barcelona's skyline crowned by the Sagrada Familia basilica. But Klein and Hausding avoided the miscues that cost their main rivals the gold and took full advantage of their opportunities.
China was favored to maintain its dominance of an event in which it had won at the past three Olympics as well as the last three worlds.
But a poor performance by Cao and Zhang left them playing catch-up to finish third on the winners' stand, meaning the Asian country has won medals in this event in all eight editions since its inclusion at the 1998 worlds.
Hausding said he would "be lying" to say that beating the Chinese wasn't an "upset."
"Of course it is good for us to have beaten the Chinese, but nevertheless everyone was very strong, the Russians, the Cubans," he said.
The Chinese led early but a poor effort on the third dive cost them the lead to the resurgent Mexican pair of German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia, who finished second behind them at the 2012 London Games.
Mexico had difficulty on a reverse tuck with 3 1/2 somersaults in the fifth and penultimate round. Sanchez and Garcia finished fourth in front of the surprisingly strong Cuba pair of Jose Guerra and Jeinkler Aguirre
Klein and Hausding hit a reverse pike with 3 1/2 somersaults in the final round. But they could only celebrate after China's final dive, worth 99.36 points, was not enough to overtake them or the Russians.
Klein said it wasn't until Mexico's blown fifth dive that he could savor the gold.
"It was after the fifth round, everyone was making great dives, and then some of the divers made a mistake," Klein said. "It reminded me of two years ago when we made a mistake. We talked about it and then had a really good last dive."
Cao said he and Zhang had done the best they could.
"We feel that throughout this tournament we have prepared ourselves physically," Cao said. "The most important thing for us is that we did our best."
Also in diving on Sunday, China's He Zi led qualification for the women's 1-meter springboard.
He, who won gold in the 1-meter springboard at 16 at the 2007 worlds, collected the highest score through five dives for a total of 287.70 points. She was followed by Italy's Tania Cagnotto with 284.85 points. China's Wang Han was third with 284 points.