Jack Laugher made light work of qualifying for the Men’s 3m Springboard final on day six of the World Aquatics Championships, in doing so securing Britain another guaranteed place at Tokyo 2020.
Whilst at this stage Olympic qualification spots are for Great Britain and not specifically for that athlete, there is little doubt Laugher will be lining up in the Japanese capital in 12 months’ time. Having already won World silver alongside Dan Goodfellow on Saturday, this is the second spot Laugher has qualified for Team GB, but now his attention turns to winning another medal tomorrow night.
Having progressed with ease from a marathon three and a half hour prelim this morning, the Olympic champion set about his business with intent, qualifying with a dive to spare.
In round four Laugher took on the hardest dive of the competition, a Front 2 ½ Somersaults 3 Twists Pike (5156B) possessing 3.9 degrees of difficulty, which he delivered with near perfection, racking up 95.55 points. The penultimate round was just as good as Laugher sunk a sumptuous Forward 4 ½ Somersaults Tuck (109C), and despite a final dive that was well below his own extremely high standards, Laugher qualified third with an overall total of 468.45 points.
Speaking afterwards, Laugher said:
“Job done! It’s been a really long day of competing – that’s six hours of competing I’ve done today and it really takes it out of you. My legs are dying and mind is going ‘I’m hungry’, but I’ve done what I needed to do and still qualified in third place, despite a huge mistake on my last dive. 11 out of 12 today is good enough though and I got that Olympic spot, so I’m happy overall, but I’ve still got some things to improve on for tomorrow.”
Having secure an Olympic spot by qualifying for the final yesterday afternoon, Lois Toulson lined up against the best women in the world on the 10m platform. The Leeds’ diver couldn’t quite replicate the kind of form she showed yesterday where she scored a strong 319.60 points, tonight having to settle for 303.60 and a 12th place finish, the pick of her efforts a lovely 72.00 Armstand Back 2 Somersault 1 ½ Twist (6243D).
Speaking in the mixed zone afterwards, Toulson said:
“Yesterday was such a massive high it was always going to be hard coming back this evening to try and do a good performance again. There are positives to take away but I am a bit disappointed with how I dived, as everything was just a bit flat. I know I can hit those dives a bit better but it just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Having enjoyed a very successful World Championships Kate Shortman was in action one last time, as she took to the water to swim in Women’s Solo Freestyle final. Having finished 14th in the Duet Freestyle alongside Izzy Thorpe the previous day, the 17 year old lined up in her second individual final, having already finished 10th in the Solo Technical.
Once again Shortman acquitted herself extremely well, a very balanced routine seeing her finish 11th with a one of the best scores of her career, 84.7667 points. That put her just ahead of the USA, who had edged her and Thorpe out of final spot the previous day.
Discussing her experience here in Gwangju, Shortman said:
“It’s been great. To be part of the top athletes in the world, it’s an amazing experience and very exciting coming up to the Olympics. It’s been good to see our competition and push our ranking up. Making the Olympics would be a dream come true – I think it would really bring on synchro in our country and hopefully give it the recognition it deserves.”
Back in Yeosu the Marathon Swimming entered its fourth day of action, with Maise Macartney taking to the water for Great Britain in the Women’s 5km event. Making her World Championships debut the youngster produce a solid swim, finishing in the third pack in 43rd position, great experience for her career ahead.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be James Heatly’s day as he was unable to advance from the Men’s 3m prelims alongside Laugher, having failed his third round dive.
Full results from the FINA World Aquatics Championships can be found here.
You can catch all the action live on FINA TV