Britain’s divers have returned home from an impressive performance that saw the squad win a gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the second leg of the FINA/NVC Diving World Series.
Jack Laugher set history as the only British male to ever win a World Series 3m Springboard event and was the only athlete that stopped China from winning every gold medal at the competition. He finished with an impressive score of 564.35.
Laugher commented: “Being sandwiched between the Chinese in the start list is almost a nightmare, but I wasn’t fazed by it and actually quite enjoyed it,” he said.
“He Chong is one of my idols, he’s Olympic champion and managed to hold his reign for ten years now, so diving after him and seeing him do his good dives really motivated me and spurred me on to do some pretty cool things and get a massive personal best.
“Last year was a very good year for me, but I have matured and I feel a lot stronger – and it’s noticeable in the pool.
“We’ve been working a lot in the off-season and it’s really starting to pay off.
“The support we get from the crowd is so important. It’s really nice coming out and having the fans cheer you on, it motivates you to put on a great performance and I hope that people can come and cheer us on in London when the World Series is there in May.”
Laugher’s coach Adrian [Hinchliffe] added: “Last year I think that Jack really grew in confidence but we have added some new dives this year and they are big ones but he’s shown he can mix it with the top divers.
“If he finds his rhythm, which he did in Dubai, he can really shine but we need to keep working hard to bring in that consistency.
“I think it has set up a real battle for when the event moves on to London. The 3m Springboard is always really competitive but if he can be consistent he can be up there.
“The home crowd support is always really important and I hope that as many people as possible come down to shout us on. The support for the British team can really make a difference.”
Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley put in a consistent performance in the men’s 10m Platform and scored straight 10s on two of his dives. He scored 578.25 to take the silver medal behind China’s Qiu Bo.
Tonia Couch showed her form with a strong performance in the women’s 10m Platform event and secured a score of 367.70. She finished just three points off silver.
For National Performance Director Alexei Evangulov the squad’s performance has shown the true potential of the Brits.
“Our divers performed consistently and confidently throughout the competition and really showed some top quality diving,” Evangulov said. “The world’s best divers turned out to be in a very strong technical and physical shape, which is very unusual for this time of the season, but our team didn’t let this distract them from their own performance.”
The medal performances allowed Evangulov to see where the athletes are at this point in the season and what they need to do to move forwards to the World Championships this summer.
“Jack’s gold medal is a well-formed product of the thorough technical work which has been done by both Jack and his coach Ady [Hinchliffe],” added Evangulov. “They have both worked really hard and this is now showing.
“The exciting thing is that Jack still has more to come. There are still many things to do in both technique and physicality which Jack is doing with great enthusiasm.
“For Tom to show the consistency to get two dives scored at straight 10s in the prelim and the final is a testament to the hard work that both he and Jane have been putting in. The way that Tom dived in the final was an example of the strong partnership that he and Jane have built. His silver medal with such a high score is a really good place to be at this point in the season.
“Tonia’s bronze medal is a special one. She really scared her non-Chinese rivals with her consistency (367 points in both Semi-final and Final) having yielded only to two Chinese Olympic champions. Well done to both Andy and Tonia.”
You can buy your tickets for the London leg of the FINA/NVC Diving World Series here http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/diving
Diving News is courtesy of British Swimming.