Brits close out Commonwealth diving with double gold

8 Aug 2022

Britain’s divers provided an unforgettable finale to the aquatics programme at the Commonwealth Games by sealing two gold medals and one silver across the last two events of the competition. 

Grace Reid and James Heatly secured Team Scotland’s first diving medal in Birmingham with a superb victory in the Mixed 3m Synchro, before Noah Williams and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix earned their second gold apiece with a virtuoso display in the Mixed 10m Synchro. Behind them, new-look partnership Lois Toulson and Kyle Kothari served up a well-executed list of their own to take silver and ensure Team England finished well clear at the top of the diving medal table.

Two pairings apiece from both Team England and Team Scotland took to the board for the final of the Mixed Synchronised 3m Springboard, first up in Monday’s closing session from the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

England’s Jordan Houlden stood in last minute for Matthew Dixon, who withdrew as a precaution after the Men's 10m Platform on Sunday. Jordan went alongside City of Sheffield teammate Yasmin Harper, with Ben Cutmore and Desharne Bent-Ashmeil making up the other English pair.

For Scotland, World Championship bronze-medal duo Heatly and Reid were back in action, while Danny Mabbott and Clara Kerr completed the British competitors on the startlist.

Cutmore and Bent-Ashmeil started the better of the groups as they sat second following the first round, on par with Heatly and Reid, the first two required dives being limited at a difficulty of 2.0, as is the nature of the synchronised events.

Heatly and Reid then took the lead of the competition as the second round drew to a close, with the pair putting in a solid 50.40 score on their Reverse Dive Pike (301B), given the difficulty cap.

As the third round began, the dives became more complex. It was a tie for third place between two British groups at the round’s conclusion, as Heatly and Reid were level again with Cutmore and Bent-Ashmeil. It was the latter who got the better score, their Inward 2 ½ Somersaults Pike (405B) giving them an eye-catching score of 67.50 to get them back into contention.

Ben Cutmore Desharne Bent-Ashmeil Mixed 3m Synchro Birmingham 2022
Ben Cutmore and Desharne Bent-Ashmeil

The penultimate round then saw Ben and Desharne retake second place, as they produced a stunning Forward 2 ½ Somersaults 1 Twist Pike (5152B) to score them 72.00. The pair were then followed by James and Grace, whose consistency and composure ensured they held onto the provisional bronze medal spot.

A series of high scoring dives from across the field excited the Birmingham crowd in the final round. Up first of the title contenders, Heatly and Reid managed to put their stamp on the top step of the podium with a sensational Forward 3 ½ Somersaults Pike (107B), scoring high for execution and synchronisation, scoring them 74.40 and 306.00 overall. That score ultimately proved enough for a historic gold medal, the first-ever mixed Commonwealth diving title.

That moment was followed by heartbreak for Team England, as Cutmore and Bent-Ashmeil slipped out just out of the medals and into fourth – although their final score of 297.30 bodes well for such a young pair who are enjoying a busy maiden senior campaign on the international stage.

Houlden and Harper took eighth spot, with their Back 2 ½ Somersaults Pike giving them a high score of 63.00, before finishing on a total score of 268.59. Mabbott and Kerr then rounded off the British entrants with a score of 212.70, with their Inward 2 ½ Somersaults Tuck being their highest scoring dive (53.46), placing 10th.

The final diving event of the Games was the Mixed Synchronised 10m Platform final. There were representatives from across the Home Nations, with Team England’s Kothari and Toulson joined by Williams and Spendolini-Sirieix, Team Wales represented by Aiden Heslop and Ruby Thorne and Team Scotland duo Angus Menmuir and Gemma McArthur opening up the competition.

The first round saw Williams and Spendolini-Sirieix sit highest of the Brits after the first of their required dives, in among a bunched field.

Mixed 10m Synchro B22 [Getty]
The Mixed 10m Synchro podium

Both English pairings then took the provisional medal places after round two, with Williams and Spendolini-Sirieix upgrading to first after their Reverse Dive scored them 52.80 points, with Kothari and Toulson joining them in third, as the following places down the order continued to stay in touch with the top spots.

The leaders retained their spot after round three, with Kothari and Toulson moving up into second place after their Forward 3 ½ Somersaults Pike (107B) scored them a massive 72.90 points to help them along the way. Heslop and Thorne also produced a big dive in the round, as their Back 3 ½ Somersaults Tuck had a massive 3.3 difficulty, to score them 67.32.

A massive dive from Spendolini-Sirieix and Williams gave them one hand on the gold medal after the penultimate round. The young duo produced a breathtaking Inward 3 ½ Somersaults Tuck with eye-catching entries to score them a massive 84.48 points, providing them with a 17-point cushion ahead of their Team England compatriots, who managed to hold on to second place.

And the quality dives were not over there, as Williams and Spendolini-Sirieix secured the gold with another excellent attempt in round five, their Back 2 ½ Somersaults 1 ½ Twists Pike giving them a score of 74.88 and an overall tally of 333.06 to back up their respective golds in the Men’s 10m Synchro and Women’s 10m Platform.

Kothari and Toulson put in their highest scoring dive of the event when it really mattered, as they produced the same dive to score 76.80 points towards an overall score of 318.54, giving them the silver medal, a second of the Games for Lois, who finished behind Andrea in the individual platform event too.

Menmuir and McArthur finished in seventh place for Team Scotland, with their Back 2 ½ Somersaults 1 ½ Twists Pike (69.12) contributing to a total score of 289.62. Team Wales followed the pair, with Heslop and Thorne’s final dive of Back 2 ½ Somersaults 1 ½ Twists Pike (68.16) also being their highest scoring, to bring them an overall score of 284.28.

Those results meant Team England finished well clear at the top of the diving medal table, with six gold, four silver and five bronze. 

Team England Belly Flop B22 [GettyImages]
The Team England Mixed 10m Synchro medallists celebrate with a belly flop into the pool