Laugher and Spendolini-Sirieix light up Diving Champs

24 May 2024

Jack Laugher and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix claimed brilliant British titles on the first night of finals at the Speedo Aquatics GB Diving Championships - with Spendolini-Sirieix securing an individual Olympic place and Laugher putting himself in selection contention to target a third successive individual springboard medal at the Games.

Indeed, the three-time Olympic medallist was at his consummate best to triumph in an enthralling Men's 3m Springboard final, bursting past the 500-point mark to claim the British gold ahead of a stellar cast behind him.

A superb third-round Inward 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (407C) scored 8.5s from the judges to earn him 86.70 and leave Jack sat top at halfway, and he did not let that advantage slip, getting over a slight drop on his hardest, 3.9 degree-of-difficulty fourth-round dive to close out in style across round five and six.

Closing with 90 points for his Back 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (207C), Laugher's overall score of 507.20 meant he ultimately finished more than 30 points clear at the summit of a brilliant tussle - and put himself in strong contention to compete in the individual event that brought him Olympic medals in both Rio and Tokyo, having already been selected for the synchro event with Anthony Harding.

Behind Jack, Jordan Houlden secured the British silver medal, thanks in part to a stunningly clutch Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (109C) in the final round. The tally of 96.90 points from the judges was the highest across the whole competition, and saw him finish on 476.20, leapfrogging Dan Goodfellow into second at the very last.

Rio 2016 medallist Goodfellow had been pushing Laugher for top spot after four superb opening dives, including 86.70 points for his Inward 3 1/2 Somersaults (407C) in the fourth round. In the end, he would ultimately finish with bronze, just behind Houlden on 471.60. 

Ross Haslam on 457.25 and Matthew Dixon on 451.05 rounded out the top five, with all five going above 450 points to illustrate the incredible quality of this event - with champion Laugher feeling it a privilege to play his part.

"It was a huge final. I'm so glad to be a part of it, and it shows how strong British diving is right now - we've got four or five lads out there who are going toe-to-toe, and you make one little mistake and you're out of it completely. It was a really competitive final, a lot of big dives, a lot of big scores and just a really good experience to be a part of," said the 29-year-old.

"It's the second time over 500 points this year for me - I got 506 in Canada in the Diving World Cup, and then 507 here today, and both of them still with little mistakes here and there.

Jack Laugher pre-dive stretch AGB Diving Champs 2024
Jack Laugher

"I'm really pleased to be on the Olympic team already with Anthony, and I hope today in my final that I've proven myself and hopefully will be able to get that individual Olympic spot as well. It was extremely important that I gave a good performance today after yesterday not being quite my best, and I think I showed that."

And on the noise coming from the Sandwell Aquatics Centre stands on this first big evening of finals, Jack added: "It was really enjoyable. This afternoon, the crowd was really good, the team support was fantastic, and I just felt excited and happy throughout that entire thing. When you feel that bit of a spark from the crowd, it can really perk you up to do some special things, and I think that's what's happened here today."

That noise continued into a brilliant Women's 10m Platform finale, which saw Spendolini-Sirieix rubber-stamp her Olympic place for the individual event in Paris with another assured, top-class display. 

Like Jack, Andrea's Team GB spot was already secured as part of the synchro pairing with Lois Toulson - but this individual display ensured it will be a busy Games for the 19-year-old across both events.

The foundation was laid with 78.40 points from her opening Armstand Back Double Somersault 1 1/2 Twists (6243D), and she built consistently from there, before rounding things out with an outstanding Back 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 1/2 Twists Pike (5253B), 8.5s and nines from the judges earning 81.60 points and ensuring she ended on 363.70 points overall.

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix laugh AGB Diving Champs 2024 podium
Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix laughs with Lois Toulson after winning the British title in the Women's 10m Platform

That was well over the 320-point threshold as part of the selection criteria, and combined with her prelims score and the British title, made sure of that Olympic place. 

The silver medal went to Toulson, who delivered in the closing rounds. A 72-point haul for her fourth-round Inward 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (407C) was followed by an identical points score for her final-round Back 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 1/2 Twists Pike (5253B) to close on 335.90. That was ahead of bronze medallist Eden Cheng, who finished with 327.75 to her name - the same closing dive bringing her highest mark of 76.80.

Reflecting on her victory, Andrea said: "I'm so happy. It's been a long road to Paris but I'm so happy to have booked those tickets and I give glory to God and I just want to thank my family, my coach and the support of the National Lottery for helping us funded athletes, and just everyone who has supported me on my journey. I just want to enjoy the summer and I can't wait to get there.

"Honestly, I thought that final dive didn't go as well as it did, in training it hasn't been going as I would like it to go but again all glory to God I was just praying 'I just need some strength, I just need some guidance' and you know God always delivers. I was really happy and to have my family - my Mum, Ben [Cutmore], Desharne [Bent-Ashmeil] and the crowd and my coach to support me means everything."

Earlier in the day, the first British title of the week went to Edinburgh Diving Club duo Shane McConnell and Angus Menmuir, who scored 304.14 points - including a fourth-round Inward 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (407C) worth 70.08. 

Full results and entry lists are available on DiveRecorder.

Every finals session of the Speedo Aquatics GB Diving Championships will be broadcast live on the BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and app. Every other session will be streamed live on the Aquatics GB YouTube channel.