Divers Jack Laugher and Dan Goodfellow got their new partnership off to a near perfect start, as in their first international competition as a duo they won a brilliant bronze at the first leg of the 2019 FINA Diving World Series in Japan.
Friday 1 March marked the first day of action at the Sagamihara Green Pool on the outskirts of Tokyo’s capital, Olympic champion Laugher being joined on the springboard by Goodfellow, who had previously won Olympic bronze in the platform event.
Having only been working together up in Leeds for the last six months, the duo looked at ease on and off the boards, as they got amongst the medals on the world stage at their first attempt. Occupying the bronze medal spot at the halfway mark, they did move up to second after scores of 82.95 and 79.80, the former a sublime Reverse 3 ½ Somersault Tuck (307C), commonly regarded as one of the hardest dives in the sport.
Despite a very solid 78.84 point Back 3 ½ Somersault Tuck (207C), Mexico leap frogged them to take silver, with the Brits well clear of the rest in third.
Speaking post-event, Laugher said:
“After Nationals I just wanted to come out here and put a good synchronised performance together and today we’ve really shown that we have massive potential together. 420 is a great score and I’m really happy – I thought we would be decent, but not amazing, but it was really good and we’re really happy with it.”
“I think it was a really good competition considering it was our first international, our first World Series and my first 3m springboard competition in the synchro! I think we just wanted to put a good synchro performance as we highlighted some things at Nationals that we weren’t happy with and we just wanted to do some good, consistent hurdle steps, but the individual dives turned out to be really good as well.
“It’s great to go out to the World Series and in the first couple of rounds get a medal under your belt; it boosts your confidence, especially as a new pairing, and hopefully other countries have seen our performance and seen that we’re contenders for the medals.”
On a first day consisting of purely synchro action, there were a couple of near misses for the GB team, as another new partnership inTom Daley and Matty Lee, as well as Grace Reid and Kat Torrance, had to settle for fourth place finishes.
In action in the Men’s 10m Synchro, Daley and Lee were right in the mix for a medal, but were edged out in the final two rounds by a breakthrough Australian performance. With a tally of 387.93 points, it was a solid effort for their first international competition as a pairing, as favourites China took gold.
Of their performance, Lee commented:
“I’m happy with that for our first international together. Our first four dives were good so it gives us something to work on for Beijing next week.”
In the Women’s 3m Synchro, London based Reid and Leeds based Torrance renewed their European bronze medal winning partnership and produced another strong 281.67 total, good for fourth behind China, Canada and Australia.
In the Women’s 10m Synchro European champions Eden Cheng and Lois Toulson pitted themselves against the best in the world for the very first time, producing a solid result as they finished sixth with a points total of 282.78, getting the better of hosts Japan and the USA.
Saturday sees Jack Laugher back in action in the Men’s 3m Springboard, whilst Matty Lee and Lois Toulson will combine in the Mixed 10m Synchro final.
Full results from day one can be found hereThe action resumes at 10am (1am GMT) on Saturday, with full coverage available on FINA TV.