Daley and Williams among British National Diving Cup synchro champs

14 Dec 2023

Tom Daley teamed up with Noah Williams on his return to diving action in front of a raucous British National Diving Cup crowd on a night that saw strong synchro performances across the board - and a new personal best score for World Championship medal-winning pair Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix and Lois Toulson.

While those four athletes claimed the gold in the two platform synchro events, there was success for Jack Laugher and Anthony Harding in an entertaining Men's 3m Synchro contest, while Yasmin Harper and Scarlett Mew Jensen continued their impressive form together on the way to a title-winning score in the Women's 3m Synchro.

The opening dive of the entire Scottish National Diving Championships inc. British National Diving Cup 2023 belonged to Tokyo Olympian Williams and the returning Daley, the four-time Olympic medallist marking his first major competition display since the last Olympic Games with a composed display that earned the duo the Men's 10m Synchro gold. 

The standout moment came in round six, the Dive London Aquatics pair notching 93.24 for their closing Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (109C), finishing on 422.46. Behind them, Edinburgh Diving Club pair Angus Menmuir and Shane McConnell scored 333.36 in their home pool. 

So how was it far Tom to climb back up the 10m stairs and lay down the list alongside Noah in competition? 

"It was weird to dive in front of a crowd with people - last time I competed, there was nobody there in Tokyo! It is very nice to be back and get that adrenaline going again," said the 29-year-old, who won Olympic 10m Synchro gold alongside Matty Lee in Tokyo - Matty is not competing in Edinburgh.

"It felt really weird to come back [to the sport], I felt quite shy in a way to get back into it, because I had been part of that team for so long, and then to step out and see how things had changed, it felt weird and different. But it is really nice to be back. I feel really happy, I'm enjoying it and that's the main thing."

Noah added: "It's a lot of fun, I'm very happy [with where we're at]. The last week and a half training with Tom has gone really well. We didn't put in our best performance today, but it would still be good enough to do that at a World Champs, so I'm happy with everything right now."

In the Women's 10m Synchro, Andrea and Lois ended a year that brought with it a historic Worlds silver and securing Team GB an Olympic quota spot by showing their class on the national stage.

Their tally of 317.10 - thanks to a brilliantly-consistent five dives that saw them secure 70-plus-point hauls on each of their three optionals - is their highest-ever score as a pairing, an impressive feat given they have won World Championship, World Cup and European Championship medals over the past 18 months.

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix Lois Toulson pike BNDC 2023
Andrea (left) and Lois scored a new best of 317.10 as a pairing

And Lois hope that bodes very well as they head into a packed and crucial season.

"That was actually a PB for us, so it wasn't just getting the cobwebs off and starting the year, it was actually a really good performance for us. That has hopefully set us up for a good year ahead." 

The silver medal went to Libby Duke and Ellen Gillespie of Edinburgh Diving Club, who scored 222.84.

The springboard events followed hot on the heels on a busy opening evening, as Jack Laugher and Anthony Harding returned to the boards together after an informative season in 2023.

Both athletes overcame challenges in a year that brought with it their second successive Worlds silver - and the work they have been putting in recently was there for all to see as they closed on 437.88 points, their final two dives both scoring 88.92s - the fifth-round Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (109C) enthralling the crowd. 

They were pushed by some impressive dives from James Heatly and Ross Haslam, who eventually closed on 379.05 after a final-round drop, while guest pair Yona Knight-Wisdom and Yohan Esrick-Parkinson of Jamaica took bronze on 351.69, with Southend Diving pair Connor Lano and Todd Geggus claiming British bronze on 298.62.

Reflecting on his and Anthony's recent journey, three-time Olympic medallist Jack said: "The medals last year were really good, our performances and how we felt physically and mentally felt weren't, so we kind of scraped through that year.

"Anthony and I have really reflected on 2023, our positives from it and also the negatives. We've sacrificed a lot to work really hard and get into good shape and get here to Nationals, and to come here to one of our favourite pools in front of a home crowd is lovely - and it's a really good score to gear us up nicely for 2024."

Closing the night was the success for Yasmin Harper and Scarlett Mew Jensen in the Women's 3m Synchro, as they tallied 284.34 from the judges. They finished with a 405B that scored 64.80 points, with Tilly Brown and Maya Kutty (both Southampton Diving Academy) taking silver. 

The Men's 3m Springboard and Women's 1m Springboard events are up next on Friday, as the individual action takes over.

For full results from the opening day of action, visit DiveRecorder.

Image credit: Bruce White/Scottish Swimming