Amy Rollinson Desharne Bent-Ashmeil Women's 3m Synchro GOLD MEDAL podium pic European Champs 2024

Double European synchro gold for Bent-Ashmeil in Belgrade

21 Jun 2024

Desharne Bent-Ashmeil became a European diving champion twice in as many days as she partnered Ben Cutmore and Amy Rollinson to springboard synchro titles, while Fleur Lewis opened Aquatics GB's European Championship medal tally in the swimming pool as a packed schedule continues in Belgrade. 

On the back of a historic showing by the British artistic swimmers during the first week of European Aquatics Championship action, it has been the turn of the Aquatics GB pool swimmers and divers since Monday - with both teams made up of young athletes building towards future major senior international successes and using this event as a valuable top-level arena opportunity against world-class opportunity. 

From the diving springboards, the GB cohort have quickly set about following up the successes of last year's European Games, with a stunning 24 hours for Aquatics GB Performance Centre London athlete Bent-Ashmeil.

On Thursday, she teamed up with training centre partner Ben Cutmore in the Mixed 3m Synchro to brilliant effect, the pair striking gold. They moved into first place with a strong fourth-round Forward 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 Twist Pike (5152B), worth 63.90 points, and then secured the title with a composed closer, scoring 63.00 points for an Inward 2 1/2 Somersaults Pike (405B), ultimately finishing on 268.50 points, seven clear of Swedish pair Elias Petersen and Emilia Nillson Garip in silver.

"It feels great, I have to give all the glory to God for getting me through it and keeping me calm in training and in my competition. I have to stay humble for the next two competitions, tomorrow and the day after now!" said Desharne after her first event of the week - and ahead of what was to come in the Women's 3m Synchro.

"I want to thank The National Lottery and all the players for helping us, because we wouldn't be here without them - all the funding, helping me with my strength and conditioning, everything in the background, all the staff. I just want to say thank you and keep playing!"

Desharne Bent-Ashmeil Ben Cutmore Mixed 3m Synchro springboard entry European Champs 2024
Desharne Bent-Ashmeil (left) and Ben Cutmore on their way to Mixed 3m Synchro gold

On becoming a European champion again - after Men's 10m Synchro triumph with Kyle Kothari in 2022 - Cutmore added: "It'll be a big deal at the end of the week once I've finished everything else! Honestly, like Desharne says, I have to stay humble because if I get excited about this competition, I've got another one on Friday, and if that doesn't go the same way, then it'll be because I got over-excited. I can't let my pride build up and be like, 'I'm the best', because I've got more jobs to do."

While Cutmore will go in the Men's 10m Synchro alongside Euan McCabe later today, Bent-Ashmeil was back in action yesterday - and it brought another gold-medal moment. This time it was in the Women's 3m Synchro alongside Amy Rollinson, the duo defending their European Games title from 2023 thanks to a clutch final dive. 

Sitting in silver-medal position for the majority of the event and heading into round five, solid execution and synchronisation of their closing Inward 2 1/2 Somersaults Pike (405B) earned 64.80 points from the judges, ensuring they finished on 269.10 points and leapfrogged Sweden's Nina Janmyre and Elna Widerstrom to claim the gold that they also won in Poland at last year's European event.

Reflecting on their synchro successes over the past 12 months or so, Rollinson said: "We’ve come together a couple of years ago and found out that our techniques matched well. Here there was the first time we had a proper practice together as we both were focusing on our individual events but we also found that if we do that we can do the synchro better.”

Both have also qualified for the individual Women's 3m Springboard final, later on Friday.

Elsewhere in the first four days of diving at the European Championships, Rollinson placed 10th in the Women's 1m Springboard, with Tilly Brown 17th in the prelims. Matthew Dixon was fifth in the Men's 1m Springboard, while Hugo Thomas had been 15th in the prelims of that event. 

In the swimming programme, Fleur Lewis claimed the first senior international medal of her career as she swam to a shining silver in the Women's 800m Freestyle. 

Pacing her 16 laps nicely, Lewis kept herself in touch of the leading pack throughout the bulk of the race, before upping her pace into the final 100m. Turning in third at 700m, she was up to second by the final turn and held that place to the finish to take the silver medal.

Fleur Lewis 800m Freestyle SILVER medal pic European Champs 2024
Fleur Lewis with her 800m Freestyle silver medal

The Loughborough University swimmer will be back in contention for podium placings this evening in the 1500m Freestyle event, having swum well in yesterday's heats to qualify second-fastest.

Other notable results so far in the pool have seen University of Stirling's Holly McGill narrowly miss out on a medal moment as she placed fourth in the 200m Backstroke, just half-a-second from the podium.

Joshua Gammon was eighth in the Men's 100m Butterfly final - having come through an intense heats swim-off against compatriot Ed Mildred - while European Junior gold medallist Leah Schlosshan was eighth in the Women's 200m Freestyle.

To watch every dive and swim from the remaining sessions of the European Aquatics Championships, head over to the Eurovision Sport platform.

Full results are available on the Belgrade 2024 website.