On a busy opening day at the Plymouth Life Centre Jack Laugher and Dan Goodfellow delivered on their competitive synchro debut, clinching gold at the British National Diving Cup, matching the feat of young European champions Eden Cheng and Lois Toulson.
Elsewhere Ross Haslam and Kat Torrance prevailed in the 1m events that kick-started proceedings, with all of the finals action shown live across the BBC’s digital platforms and via the British Swimming YouTube channel.
It was that new Men’s 3m Synchro partnership of Olympic medallists Jack Laugher and Dan Goodfellow that took the prime time slot at the end of the day’s action, the duo producing a winning score of 387.99 to comfortably top the standings.
Having only been training together since last autumn, the Leeds based divers produced an impressive Forward 4 ½ Somersaults (109C) in the fifth and penultimate round, a degree of difficulty of 3.8 seeing them pick up 84.36 points. Despite this though the pair were hoping for better, which shows just where the young men’s sights are set.
After collecting their medals Laugher said:
“Individually we did some cracking dives but unfortunately I don’t think it was a true reflection of how we’ve been doing in the synchronised element of the event. We scored some amazing eights and eight and a halves, but we just need to bring that together and I’m hoping it’ll come together really well for the World Series.”
“I just need to get more experience in the springboard and I’m competing in the individual tomorrow. We didn’t have any performance related goals today, we just wanted to go out there and get some experience, learn about each other and see what we need to work on for future events such as that London World Series.”
Brothers Jack and Ross Haslam took silver with a score of 364.44, which capped a busy but very successful afternoon for Ross, who earlier won gold in the Men’s 1m event. The City of Sheffield man took the lead in the second round of the final with a Forward 2 ½ Somersaults 1 Twist (5152B) that clocked 74.40 points, but with his penultimate round he slipped into the silver medal spot and it looked like Edinburgh’s James Heatly would take gold.
Haslam kept his composure though to deliver an Inward 2 ½ Somersaults (405C), matching his second round 74.40 score to snatch gold by a mere 1.25 points, with Commonwealth Games medallist Heatly having to settle for silver.
On his day’s efforts Haslam reflected:
“It was definitely a busy day, starting off with the 1m and I was really happy to come away with gold in that one, as I’ve actually been putting more focus on my 3m. In the synchro we’ve increased the difficulty in our list so we’ve just got to fine tune that now and hopefully we’ll progress through the year.”
Kat Torrance of City of Leeds Diving club claimed the first gold medal of the 2019 British National Diving Cup in the Women’s 1m Springboard. After a steady morning prelims sessions, Torrance came into the final ranked second of nine with the knowledge that a strong execution of her dive list would be required to secure top spot on the podium, especially with the likes of Commonwealth and European 3m champion Grace Reid in the mix.
Leading from the halfway point, Torrance’s highest scoring dive came in the fourth round, a Reverse 1 ½ Somersaults 1 ½ Twists (5333D), which picked up 55.90 points. A further brace of strong dives saw her prevail, getting the better of her synchro partner Reid in a closely fought competition thanks to a score of 258.40 points. Afterwards she said:
“Sometimes people thing that 1m is the easy board with the easier dives, but sometimes it’s those easier ones that are harder to get right. It gives me great confidence for the rest of the weekend, but there are different people in both the 3m and 3m Synchro, so I just have to take each event as it comes.
Of competing against Reid, the City of Leeds diver added:
“Me and Grace are such good friends, even outside of the synchro and there’s always an ‘if it wasn’t me winning I wish it was you’ type attitude. It’s good to have Grace there as if we’re competing against each other we’re pushing each other and the more we push individually the better we are together.”
Whilst Dive London’s Reid took silver, there was a breakthrough performance for the City of Sheffield’s Yasmin Harper who claimed bronze; Reid and Harper’s final scores were 245.85 and 239.55 respectively.
Despite just three pairs taking to the platform, the Women’s 10m Synchro provided the Plymouth crowd with quite the spectacle, as European champions Eden Cheng and Lois Coulson prevailed with an impressive score of 282.54 points.
Leading from the very first dive, the pair showed maturity beyond their years to deliver a great range of dives, culminating with a final three dives with 3.0 or higher dive difficulty, their final round Back 2 1/2 Somersaults, 1 1/2 Twists (5253B) good for 72.00 points. The winning score by the young duo wasn’t far off their best ever performance in Glasgow last summer and bodes extremely well with the season only just getting underway.
Post-event Toulson surmised:
“Overall we’re happy but there are definitely things we could have improved on and this competition was all about blowing the cobwebs off. I feel like we’ve done that, so we’re happy.”
On the added pressure of being European champions Cheng added:
“We did feel a bit of pressure to keep our status as the women’s team, because of what we achieved last year, but I think we did a good job.”
Also showing great ability were Emily Martin and Phoebe Banks, the pairing producing a strong tally of 281.76 from their five dives, good for silver, whilst Robyn Birch and Gemma McArthur bagged bronze.
Full results from all of today’s action can be found here
To re-watch all of today’s action in full head to the British Swimming YouTube channel