Goodfellow Strikes Gold With Big Final Dive At British National Diving Cup

by SwimSwam 0

February 13th, 2022 Britain, Diving, News

Courtesy: British Swimming

A sensational final dive saw Dan Goodfellow narrowly get the better of City of Leeds teammate Jack Laugher in a dramatic Men’s 3m Springboard final on day two of the British National Diving Cup. 

Goodfellow was joined on the top step of the Plymouth Life Centre podium by Women’s 10m Platform winner Emily Martin (Dive London Aquatics) and the triumphant Women’s 3m Synchro pair, Desharne Bent-Ashmeil and Amy Rollinson (Dive London and Luton Diving Club respectively).

The first final of the day was the men’s springboard showpiece, which boasted a packed field, including four Olympians from Tokyo 2020 in Goodfellow, Laugher, James Heatly and Yona Knight-Wisdom of Jamaica.

Dan – who trains under Adam Smallwood at their Leeds base – has chosen to focus on the individual event moving forward, after years of top-level synchro competition from both board and platform. Judging by this, the decision could see the 25-year-old reap the rewards.

He led the competition at halfway and, despite dropping his fourth dive, a spectacular Back 3 ½ Somersaults Tuck (207C) under pressure last up earned him 95.40, leaving him on 462.90.

It was just enough to keep friend and former synchro partner Laugher at bay, the triple Olympic medallist closing on 460.85 after a fine list of his own – the standout moment his opening Forward 2 ½ Somersaults 2 Twists (5154B), which earned him 86.70 points.

Edinburgh Diving Club man James Heatly, fresh from the 1m title and a new personal best in that competition yesterday, completed the podium places with his tally of 421.05.

For the victorious Goodfellow, the result was a promising start to the season after the recent changes to his focus – and the way he secured the gold under pressure was particularly pleasing. 

“There are a lot of positives for me. My fourth dive was a bit shaky and I think I did a good job to pull myself back from that,” he said.

“I’m really happy with my last dive – I’ve not done that really well in a competition for a long time. Generally, I’m quite pleased with my performance, especially with where we are in the season, it’s only February. Overall, I’m really happy, but it’s early on, so there’s loads of work still to be done.

“Some people like to look at the scoreboard as you go along, because it gives you something to aim for, and some people don’t, because it throws them off a bit. I’m a bit of both. I knew roughly where I was, and I think at that point, it’s your last dive so you don’t hold back, you go for the big scores! Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t, but fortunately this time it was a good dive.”

Desharne Bent-Ashmeil (Dive London) and Amy Rollinson (Luton Diving Club) completed the impressive achievement of winning junior and senior Women’s 3m Synchro titles in the space of three months as they soared to National Diving Cup victory in the event.

Having claimed the Girls 19&U crown at this same venue in October, the pair showed experience beyond their years in another strong field. After strong early dives, Bent-Ashmeil and Rollinson took to the front in round four with a superb Forward 2 ½ Somersaults 1 Twist Pike (5152B) which landed them 68.40 points.

From there, they still had to hold their nerve with their fifth and final dive – and they duly delivered, their Back 2 ½ Somersaults Pike (205B) seeing them close on 291.30 points. 

Yasmin Harper (City of Sheffield) and Kat Torrance (City of Leeds) were closest to catching them, finishing on 286.20, while Torrance’s Olympic synchro partner Grace Reid and Scarlett Mew Jensen (both Dive London) took bronze with 281.31.

On doing the senior-junior double in this event, Rollinson said: “It was good, because we have gone from being the older athletes to being the younger ones in the competition. So it’s just nice to be able to do that and get the five dives in like we did.

“It’s also just great to see everybody from all the different clubs, because we’ve not seen the older people for a while, and at my club, a lot of them are younger – so it’s just nice to be around other athletes at a competition.”

Bent-Ashmeil added: “We knew what was at stake, so we knew what we had to do – and we did it! We’re both back for the individual Women’s 3m Springboard tomorrow, so hopefully we can both make the final in that one. This result has definitely given us a real boost.”

In the Women’s Platform event, it was Dive London’s Emily Martin who claimed the gold medal after another close contest. The Dive London Aquatics athlete – who was back at her former Plymouth Diving Club base, where she spent time after beginning her career at Southampton Diving Club – looked good in the prelims and carried that form over into the final.

After a brilliant start of 76.50 for her opening dive – a Forward 3 ½ Somersaults Pike (107B) – Martin stayed composed and consistent, ending on 316.10, a mere 0.2 points ahead of Crystal Palace Diving’s Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix.

Spendolini-Sirieix finished strongly to close on 315.90, while her Crystal Palace teammate and fellow Olympian Eden Cheng completed the podium places on 309.95. Lois Toulson was top points scorer on 358.80 after some brilliantly-executed efforts – but she was ineligible for the medals after performing one of her dives from the 5m platform, as part of a pre-agreed training plan that is seeing her develop a new dive for competition. 

Speaking about her platform performance, new National Cup champion Martin said: “I’m just very happy with myself. I felt like I was consistent all day, in both the prelims and the final, so I was actually crying with good tears afterwards.

“The synchro went really well yesterday (with Robyn Birch). It was only us in the competition so it felt quite strange, but as a new pairing, I feel like we did really well – to get used to the competition, to get used to the platform here in Plymouth as opposed to in London. So I’ve been really happy with both synchro and individual.

“Now I’ve got this under my belt, I feel like I’m going to be even more confident going into the rest of the season. It’s hard when you haven’t competed much in the past two years, so you might feel a bit shaky, but actually I felt like I’ve got my nerves together and managed to pull it out of the bag, so I’m really happy.”

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