Diving draws to a close at 2019 World Championships

20 Jul 2019

With the diving competition done and dusted at the World Championships, the Great Britain team can celebrate a successful week, winning three medals and securing seven Olympic places.

Olympic champion Jack Laugher led the way, winning 3m Springboard bronze and 3m synchro silver alongside Dan Goodfellow, whilst Tom Daley and Matty Lee combined to win 10m synchro bronze.

Daley was back in action on Saturday night as he contested two finals, the Men’s 10m Platform and the Mixed 3m Synchro with Grace Reid, the pair coming within a whisker of a medal in the latter.

A defending World Champion in the individual event, Daley went into the final event of the week under no illusions that defending his title would be a formidable task given the quality of the field assembled, which included World Championship debutant Noah Williams. By virtue of being amongst the 12 divers to make the final, the pair had already booked Great Britain two spots in this event at next year’s Olympic Games.

Starting his series with an Armstand Back 2 Somersaults 2 ½ Twists (6245D), Williams perhaps rushed his armstand slightly, a little wobble causing a reaction from the crowd, but the youngster kept his composure to execute a wonderful dive, 86.40 points putting him third at the end of the round.

Daley went even better, a stunning 93.50 opener giving him an early lead but a modest effort 10 minutes later saw him slip to fourth, with the two Chinese divers and the Russian looking up for the fight. Both Brits were solid in round three, so at the halfway stage Daley was sixth with Williams eighth, the former in shooting distance of the medals.

Round four saw Daley up the ante, however despite an 84.00 Armstand Back 3 Somersaults Pike (626B) his rivals extended their advantage, before round five saw his medal challenge all but extinguished, a poor entry seeing him lose further ground over the eventual medallists.

Showing his championship pedigree, Daley bounced back to produce a stunning 97.20 point Back 3 ½ Somersaults Pike (207B), but eventually had to settle for seventh place, with China taking a 1-2 with mesmerising scores of 598.65 and 585.75 points.

Reflecting afterwards, Daley said:

“It’s not the way I wanted to end the World Champs but on a positive, I came here to qualify two Olympic spots and I managed that, and I came away with a medal in the synchro. Of course it would have been nice to go out there and win or win a medal, but it leaves me some room for next year, gives me some things to work on and some extra motivation.”

Williams continued to do himself proud, ending his series with a 75.60 Back 2 ½ Somersaults 2 ½ Twists (5255B) to finish the competition in the top 10, commenting afterwards:

“It was really great - that was definitely the best competition I’ve been in, there were many 10s being thrown out and there were many amazing dives, so it was great to be a part of it. I was just trying to stick to my routine, taking it dive by dive and not getting ahead of myself.”

On the prospect of trying to qualify for his first Olympics next summer, Williams added:

“In Great Britain we’re a country with great depth in diving so we’ll see what happens. It would be a great experience if I was able to qualify for Tokyo, but I don’t want to get my hopes up too much as if I don’t’ qualify I’ll be a bit upset; we’ll just keep on working at it and taking it one day at a time.”

Daley was also in action earlier in proceedings, teaming up with Grace Reid in the Mixed 3m Synchro. A regular combination on the World Series, the pair clearly bounce off each other and fought hard all the way in an enthralling, ever-changing competition.

The London based duo were nicely poised in third place after rounds two and three thanks to some solid diving, meaning they would be in the shake up for medals barring disaster. That being said the pair slipped to fifth in the penultimate round after a mistake, meaning they’d need something of the highest order if they were stand on the podium.

Producing the best dive of any pair in the competition, Daley and Reid scored 73.47 points for their final round Front 3 ½ Somersaults Pike (107B) to provisionally lie third, meaning they’d face a nervous wait. In the end though it wasn’t to be as the Australian’s delivered a quality final dive to clinch gold, pushing the Brits down into fourth, just 3.15 points shy of bronze.

Speaking afterwards Daley said:

“This event is always so close because everyone is doing a similar degree of difficulty dives. I messed up my fourth round dive a little bit, so if I’d have done anything near normal we’d have been up in the medals and maybe contending for gold.”

Reid added:

“There’s definitely a degree of fun around this event and Tom helps me relax quite well – that’s probably the most fun I’ve had all week, it’s just a shame we couldn’t quite get a medal.”

With diving having reached its conclusion, the Swimming action starts in earnest tomorrow morning, Adam Peaty kick-starting his title defence in the 100m Breaststroke.

Full results from the FINA World Aquatics Championships can be found here.

You can catch all the action live on FINA TV