Kazan 2015: USA claim first-ever mixed synchro World gold

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Billy May (left) with Christina Jones
Bill May told the BBC recently that the final would be the best day of his life
2015 World Aquatics Championships
Venue: Kazan, Russia Dates: 24 July-2 August (diving); 2-9 August (swimming)
Coverage: All diving finals live on BBC Sport website & connected TV, with 10m platform final (3 August 17:20-18:45 BST) live on BBC Two.

Synchronised swimming events featuring men and women are the "future" of the sport say the winners of the first-ever World Championship gold in the event.

Bill May, 36, and Christina Jones, 27, scored 88.5108 to beat favourites Russia in the 'duet technical' final, with Italy third.

It was the first time male synchro swimmers had been allowed to compete at World level.

"I can't believe that this moment has finally happened," May told BBC Sport.

"This is the future of synchronised swimming because we've seen such strong calibre male athletes here and I really think it's going to help the sport grow."

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The pair are full-time Cirque du Soleil performers in the USA with May having retired over a decade ago after becoming frustrated by the lack of international competitions available for male synchronised swimmers.

He and Jones only returned to the sport late last year following the decision by Fina - swimming's governing body - to allow men into the competition for the first time. Jones told the BBC earlier this month that reaching the final would be the best day of his life.

"It's an event people can relate to like ballroom dancing," said Jones.

"I think that the strength and power of a man is the perfect balance to a woman's qualities."

The event is not yet part of the Olympic programme, but the International Olympic Committee are keen on more competitions featuring men and women meaning there is potential for inclusions come the 2020 Tokyo Games.

"We want to be there, it's our dream and we want in," added May.

Elsewhere, on the second day of the World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, China claimed gold in the men's synchronised 10m platform final.

Mexico secured silver ahead of Russia, whilst Britain's young pair James Denny and Matty Lee were ninth in their first-ever World final together.