Amy Rollinson Desharne Bent-Ashmeil 3m Synchro GOLD European Games 2023 poolside pic

Golden European double for Britain's divers

27 Jun 2023

Britain's divers enjoyed an unforgettable Monday at the European Games, as Desharne Bent-Ashmeil and Amy Rollinson showed superb composure to take Women's 3m Synchro gold, before Ross Haslam followed suit with an emotional victory in the Men's 1m Springboard. 

The Rzeszów Diving Arena had already played host to a medal of each colour for Team GB after four days of competition by the time of Monday's masterclass, when the GB cohort claimed both of the European titles on offer for the day. 

It began with Bent-Ashmeil and Rollinson expertly managing to regain composure after a misplaced opening dive in the Women's 3m Synchro final set them off to a shaky start. That would be the only minor blot on their CV, with Desharne showing strength in her form to be able to ride out her feet edging perilously over the end of the springboard during her take-off in the third round. 

Having sat bottom of the standings after their opening dive, the young pair moved upwards with every passing round, a strong third-round Back 2 1/2 Somersaults Pike (205B) earning them 65.70 points. 

That had them back in medal contention, and they then closed with back-to-back dives worth 67.50 points apiece - including a final-round Inward 2 1/2 Somersaults Pike (405B) that showed impressive class under pressure - to earn the top step of the podium and their first senior international titles.

"We're really happy with that after the year we've had with injuries and everything, and it's great to finally show what we can do after last year and all the fourth places we had," said Rollinson. 

"It feels so nice to have fought up there after last year's narrow miss at Europeans, so to get back out there and actually win this year is great. Last year was about getting used to everything [on the senior circuit] and we want to keep going - we've had so many setbacks earlier this year, so to get this is amazing." 

Amy Rollinson Desharne Bent-Ashmeil wave and smile on podium European Games 2023
Celebration time for Amy and Desharne

Bent-Ashmeil added: "I'm so proud of us to get back on track after that first round, and I'm so happy we were able to pull through and take the result we wanted. 

"I've got a lot of adrenaline running through my body. I put everything into this competition, and after my near-miss on the 3m individual, I just wanted to give it my all. We had a little bit of a rocky start, but we persevered and kept our head down and tried our best." 

The Team GB diving team and supporters had barely finished celebrating that triumph by the time that Haslam and James Heatly lined up in the Men's 1m Springboard showpiece. 

Ross found himself in the middle of the pack after his first two dives before a brilliantly-executed Forward 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 Twist Pike (5152B) in round three scored him 72.00 points and nudged him up to third. 

That was the best dive of the round, and the City of Sheffield man repeated that feat in round four as he earned 74.25 points for his Forward 3 1/2 Somersaults Pike (107B) to jump into gold-medal position. He was not going to give that up, yet he still saved his best dive for last and secured a first European Games gold, eight years on from his synchro silver at Baku 2015. 

Ross Haslam smile and hug European Games 1m Springboard GOLD
Ross Haslam secured 1m Springboard gold

Reflecting on his journey back on to a European podium following a series of injury setbacks, Haslam said: "I guess there's been a long time where I thought I wouldn't get back on to an international team, so the fact that I was here was like, 'okay, here we go, that's step one', and then I think honestly when I started diving again after my injuries and coming back, I learned to try to enjoy it again and not put too much pressure on myself.

"I felt ready to medal on the 3m on Saturday, and I was really gutted that I didn't perform as well as I know I can, but I'd really like to think this is the little stepping stone that I need to keep going now." 

Meanwhile, it was a mixed set of dives from Olympian Heatly, who was still in outside medal contention after five dives following an outstanding, round-high score score of 73.10 for his fifth-round Inward 2 1/2 Somersaults Pike (405B). Ultimately, though, he placed 12th after round six.

Ross and James will now link up as the Team GB pair for Wednesday's Men's 3m Synchro final. 

Full results from the European Games 2023 can be found here.