Olympic champion Jack Laugher doubled his medal tally at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in South Korea, securing individual bronze to back up the synchro silver he won on Saturday.
Whilst two medals and two Olympic Games places is a fantastic haul at any global championships, Laugher will rue a missed opportunity, as gold looked to be his until the last round. Leading throughout the competition, Laugher had built a sizeable advantage over his Chinese rivals, but a final round error cost him his first World title.
Laugher set his stall out from the word go, a high quality Front 2 ½ Somersault 2 Twist Pike (5154B) giving him an early lead, something he maintained through rounds two and three. The fireworks started in round four though, as Laugher delivered a near perfect Front 2 ½ Somersaults 3 Twist Pike (5156B), which boasts a whopping 3.9 degrees of difficulty, the judges awarding it a huge 105.30 points.
Round five was just as good as Laugher added 102.60 points to his tally with a sublime Front 4 ½ Somersaults Tuck (109C) putting him 31 points clear with a round to go. Unfortunately though it wasn’t to be today, as the Leeds based diver came out of his final dive fractionally too early meaning his bent legs slapped the water.
Despite the obvious disappointment, in time Laugher will undoubtedly looked back on his first five dives very proudly and this will form a great platform as he heads into the Olympic Games next year, where he’ll look to match the gold and silver medals he won in Rio.
Post-event Laugher reflected:
"I feel pretty dead inside right now. I mean the first five, most of them were pretty damn good, four and five were really outstanding and I don’t really know what went wrong on the last dive. I felt like it was right, but just like the semi-finals I made exactly the same mistake again and that’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life.
“I shouldn’t be too hard on myself - I know what I did today was fantastic, I just don’t have any words for how it ended; I had it in my hands and I let it go. I end on that dive because all of my life it’s been a good finisher for me and I’ve always been able to put it down with 90-100 points and it’s been my safety dive, but today I finished really badly and I don’t know what’s gone wrong.”
Grace Reid showed great resilient on day seven of the World Championships in Gwangju, to not only advance to the Women’s 3m Springboard final, but also secure Great Britain another Olympic place.
Fourth in this event at the World Championships in Budapest two years ago, Reid knew she was more than capable of making the final and securing that all important Tokyo place, but she had to work hard to make it happen.
Having delivered a solid performance during the three and a half hour prelim in the morning, Reid was back in action just three hours later, fighting for a top 12 finish that would see her fulfil both of her goals. However it wasn’t plain sailing, as a slow start to the competition left her languishing in 18th place after round one, only moving up two spots with her next dive.
In round four Reid finally found her groove, a lovely Forward 3 ½ Somersaults Pike (107B) rewarded with 69.75 points, moving her up to tenth, just one dive standing between her and a place in Friday night’s final.
With a huge amount of pressure resting on that final dive, Reid showed her championship qualities, a top drawer Front 2 ½ Somersault 1 Twist Pike (5152B) scoring 67.50 points to ensure she’ll be lining up in the final courtesy of an eighth place finish.
On her fight back, Reid said:
“I’m so happy! I didn’t open up very strongly but I didn’t panic – you’ve got five dives so it’s just one dive at a time. I fought back really hard and I’m really glad it’s paid off.
“I just had to trust what I was doing, listen to Jane’s [Figueiredo, her coach] comments and stick to my routine and not be swayed when things maybe went a little bit off. There’s so much pressure coming into this, as it’s so doable for so many people, so it’s such a weight off my shoulders. I’m in a final now and I want to dive well.”
Also in action in the prelims of the women’s event was Scarlet Mew Jensen, the 17 year old making her World Championship debut after winning the British Championships last month. Having never endured a competition of this length before, with no fewer than 51 divers in action, the Londoner unfortunately dropped her middle two dives, meaning she missed out on a top 18 place finishing 26th, just 11 points back.
The Marathon Swimming reached its conclusion down on the coast in Yeosu, with a strong GB quartet contesting the Mixed 5km Relay. With a line-up consisting of all four swimmers who contested the 10km events, Danielle Huskisson, Alice Dearing, Toby Robinson and Jack Burnell, the team went all out for a good result to end their World Championship campaign.
Huskisson swam a strong opening leg handing over to Dearing in 13th place, just 24 seconds off the lead after 14 and a half minutes of swimming, the Loughborough based youngster battling hard to come home 17th. She then handed over to Robinson and then Burnell, that duo moving through the field to secure the team an 11th place finish.
With the action from Artistic and Marathon Swimming having reached a conclusion, it’s all eyes on diving for the next two days until the Swimming action gets underway on Sunday. Tom Daley will be back in action in the Men’s 10m Platform, which takes place across Friday and Saturday.
Full results from the FINA World Aquatics Championships can be found here.
You can catch all the action live on FINA TV