Lee & Bent-Ashmeil Put Aquatics GB On Top Of European Champs Diving Medal Table

Courtesy: Aquatics GB

Stunning gold-medal performances from Robbie Lee and Desharne Bent-Ashmeil over the final weekend of European Aquatics Championships action saw Great Britain finish top of the diving medal table in Belgrade.

Bent-Ashmeil followed up Women’s 3m Synchro and Mixed 3m Synchro titles alongside Amy Rollinson and Ben Cutmore respectively to complete a golden hat-trick in Serbia with individual Women’s 3m Springboard glory on Friday, before Aquatics GB Performance Centre London teammate Lee soared to an outstanding victory in the Men’s 10m Platform on Sunday, registering near to 500 points to go one better than his 2023 silver.

In among those memorable moments, Cutmore picked up two more medals to secure a three-strong personal tally for the competition, partnering Euan McCabe to Men’s 10m Synchro bronze, before taking individual bronze from the 10m platform to round things out. There was also a bronze in the Men’s 3m Springboard for Matthew Dixon, whose transition from platform to springboard continues to go from strength to strength.

Those results ensured this young Aquatics GB team – selected to develop their arena experience on the path to future Olympic Games – ended top of the medal pile, with four golds and seven medals overall to their name, a brilliant achievement and an exciting insight into the talent coming through the ranks in British diving.

Meanwhile, the swimming programme brought a second medal of the meet for Fleur Lewis, who enjoyed an eye-catching senior European debut by following 800m Freestyle silver with bronze over the 1500m Freestyle distance – and she also placed fourth in the 400m Freestyle final.

Having won his first senior international medal with Men’s 10m Platform silver at the European Games 12 months earlier, Robbie Lee never looked like settling for anything other than gold this time around, certainly from the moment he nailed his second-round Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (109C) to score a competition-high 92.50 points from the judges.

His fifth-round Reverse 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (307C) scored some nines and 9.5s to earn him 88.40 and put him well clear of any challengers heading into the final round, before he made sure of a brilliant European title by nailing a Back 2 1/2 Somersaults 2 1/2 Twists Pike (5255B) for 91.80, closing on 489.50 overall, more than 50 points clear of silver medallist Carlos Camacho del Hoyo.

“I’m European champion and I’m feeling amazing. This gold medal has been down to a lot of commitment and hard work over a lot of years,” he said.

“I also recently moved to London (from his original Southampton Diving Club training base), and I’m glad I did, as I think I’ve gained a lot of strength, probably wisdom as well, and I think my diving has got a lot better.

“I think my most important dive was my four and a half tuck in round two. It’s a dive I usually put at the end of my list, but it hasn’t been going too great recently and I really messed it up at the Olympic trials. I wasn’t going to use it, but I told my coach I wanted to and I’m glad I did as it paid off.”

Behind him, Cutmore’s busy week ended with a resilient showing in the platform final. Sitting second after three rounds, a drop in round four saw the 21-year-old slip to sixth place – but he bounced back superbly, a composed Back 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (207C) for 75.90 getting him up to third, and that result was secured with a clutch closer worth 84.60 points, for an overall score of 429.90 and bronze.

“I didn’t drop my head after that fourth dive and I made sure I stayed determined, as I wanted to fight back for a medal,” he said.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here, and a lot of dedication, especially after my injury at the start of the year, so I refused to go home without a medal in this event.”

Another of GB’s busy divers in Belgrade was Desharne Bent-Ashmeil, whose display in the Women’s 3m Springboard final on Friday ensured it was a flawless record of three golds from three events for the meet.

Like Robbie from 10m, Desharne won out emphatically, her winning margin more than 60 points after a superbly consistent showing across her five-dive list. There was not a drop in there, with scores ranging from 55.50 in round one to a brilliant 67.50 in round two for her Back 2 1/2 Somersaults Pike (205B).

Closing with a Forward 3 1/2 Somersaults Pike (107B) that scored her 66.65 points, Bent-Ashmeil stepped to the podium’s summit with 305.15 points and another gold to add to her two synchro titles from earlier in the competition, a symbol of her quality and composure across the week.

“I’m very satisfied, I’ve been working very hard, I’ve done so much training,” she said at the finale of her European Championships.

“By the grace of God, I was able to get through this. I kept my cool and peace to carry on. Even if there was much going on, so many people were up and down so I’m very grateful that I was keeping my cool.”

Having partnered Bent-Ashmeil to 3m Synchro gold, Amy Rollinson’s individual event saw her place ninth, her best two dives coming in rounds one and five.

Elsewhere, the Men’s 10m Synchro event brought a maiden senior international medal for Euan McCabe, he and Cutmore teaming up to take bronze, while Leon Baker and Hugo Thomas placed fifth in the Men’s 3m Synchro.

In the Men’s 3m Springboard finale, Dixon delivered three cracking dives in the second half of his list to move from ninth to third and claim bronze, a score of 85.50 for his closing Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (109C) seeing him leapfrog France’s Jules Bouyer at the crucial moment to ensure some silverware. Senior European debutant Baker was not much further back in placing fifth.

Topping the medal table by virtue of most golds and most medals overall, this European Championship proved a memorable one for the team, keeping the momentum of the Aquatics GB setup on the big stages after a historic World Championships in February and on the eve of next month’s Olympic Games in Paris.

In the swimming programme, Lewis ensured there would be two medals in her hand luggage returning to Loughborough University as she again showed well-judged pacing to take 1500m Freestyle bronze.

Sitting just off the lead in fifth over the first few 10 laps, Fleur moved into fourth at the halfway mark and maintained consistent pacing to stay there, before moving past Hungary’s Viktoria Farkas with 100m to go and finishing faster than anyone in that closing two laps to claim third place. She was also just off the medals in the 400m event, placing fourth.

Other notable results from the second half of the swimming programme saw Leah Schlosshan go close to her personal best in finishing one place off the podium in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley, the two-time European Junior champion’s brilliant breaststroke moving her into second at 150m before ultimately missing bronze by a quarter-of-a-second in what was a promising display at her maiden senior Championships.

Matthew Ward was seventh in the Men’s 100m Backstroke, a result matched by Lucy Grieve in the Women’s 200m Butterfly.

All the results from across every discipline at the European Aquatics Championships are available on the European Aquatics Belgrade 2024 website.

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