Tom Daley and Noah Williams gave Britain yet more reason to celebrate on Friday afternoon as they ensured Team GB will have two divers in Men’s 10m Platform at next year’s Olympic Games.
Never before have Great Britain qualified all three male platform spots one year out from the Games, with Daley linking up with Matty Lee last weekend to win synchro bronze and make certain of that quota place.
After fourth in the Mixed 10m Synchro alongside Robyn Birch, Williams showed his talent once again, the youngster delivering a strong, consistent display through the prelims and semi-final to ensure he’ll line up in his first World Championship individual final.
Having shown such consistency during the prelims this morning, Williams continued this form in the afternoon, dives two and three rewarded with scores of 81.00 and 80.00 points to put him well in the mix to qualify for the final. Meanwhile Daley was also making minimal fuss, going about his business with confidence; nicely poised in fourth at the halfway mark, a 91.80 opener was the highlight of his first three efforts.
Commonwealth Games synchro silver medallist Williams continued to go from strength to strength as in round four he produced an 83.30 Reverse 3 ½ Somersaults Tuck (307C) before wrapping up qualification in a splendid sixth place.
Round four was also a good one for Daley, an 89.25 score for his Armstand Back 3 Somersaults Pike (626B) coming before a brilliant Front 3 ½ Somersaults Tuck secured his final spot with one dive to spare. Eventually finishing third behind his two Chinese rivals, Daley will go into tomorrow’s final full of confidence as he looks to defend the World title he won two years ago in Budapest.
Speaking afterwards the Olympic medallist said:
“I am beyond happy. I managed to hold it together and although there’s a bit of sharpening up needed I’m in a good place going into tomorrow’s final. When you’re expected to get the place its terrifying and I don’t take any moment for granted - you can only relax when you know you’ve qualified, because in diving anything can happen at any moment.”
On the prospect of defending his World title, Daley added:
“Of course I would love to defend the world title; it’ll be tough as those Chinese guys are pretty special and I also have the Mixed Synchro event before then as well, so it’ll be a busy day. For me, this is job done, qualification for the Olympics for GB in the men’s platform and men’s synchro, so I can enjoy the final.”
Of his performance, Daley’s Dive London teammate, Williams, commented:
“I’m really happy with that! The aim was to get in the final and get the Olympic spot for next year and I’ve done that, so I’m over the moon. It’s my first World Championships and last year at the World Cup I didn’t even get into the semi-final so I was very nervous and didn’t have too much confidence. The aim was to peak for the semi-final and we’ve done that, so job done.”
Later in the day Commonwealth and European champion Grace Reid was one of 12 women to line up in the 3m Springboard final, having qualified the previous day to book another Olympic spot.
Fourth in this event two years ago, Reid had her work cut out with such a strong field assembled, but she started well with two very solid opening round dives. After an error in the third round put her down in 10th place the gutsy Scot held her nerve, two solid final dives, a Front 3 ½ Somersaults Pike (107B) and a Front 2 ½ Somersaults 1 Twist Pike (5152B) seeing her finish in eighth place.
Of her efforts Reid said:
“I felt really good, it was just really frustrating as sometimes it just doesn’t click. To finish top eight and not be satisfied is a weird mixture of feelings right now. It is a real positive that I’ve qualified for the World Series and I get to compete against those top girls, it’s a massive plus, but I’m just a bit frustrated I couldn’t have a little bit more form this evening.”
Reid will be back in action tomorrow in the Mixed Synchro alongside Daley, the duo winning silver at the World Championships in 2017. Of that prospect she added:
“I love the Mixed Synchro. Tomorrow will be a little bit more light-hearted so I’m hoping to relax and just enjoy it and hopefully that’ll help me find my rhythm again.”
Full results from the FINA World Aquatics Championships can be found here.
You can catch all the action live on FINA TV