Lee makes individual return a golden one at British Champs

29 May 2022

Matty Lee brought the British Diving Championships 2022 to a brilliant conclusion as a 101.75-point final dive secured him the Men's 10m Platform title at the end of a thrilling contest.

In a final where the lead continually changed hands - and a mere 12 points separated the top half of the field heading into their sixth dives - Dive London Aquatics man Lee showed his Olympic champion credentials by delivering a near-perfect Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (109C).

That victory for Matty followed a second British title of the weekend for home favourite Yasmin Harper, who repeated her Women's 1m Springboard success from Friday with victory in the 3m Springboard event. 

But it was the men's platform battle that served up the biggest drama of the day. It was clear what was to come after each athlete's first two dives, when a quintet from Dive London - led by Kyle Kothari - all sat within 2.6 points of each other. 

Back competing as an individual for the first time in more than two years at a major event, Lee was in contention throughout and then moved to the front of the pack in round five, with a stunning Reverse 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (307C) that scored 8.5s and 9s from the judges for 90.10 points.

Still, there was pressure to deliver in round six after Noah Williams landed an impressive Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck of his own, worth 88.80 points, to close on 469.00. 

Lee followed suit brilliantly, a massive 101.75 his score from the judges for the same dive, ensuring he finished with 492.25 to his name. 

The silver went to Williams, who recovered fantastically from a third-round drop with three 85 point-plus dives to close it out. Those results followed up victory in the Men's 10m Synchro for the new partnership of Lee and Williams on Saturday. 

Matthew Dixon, another from the Dive London stable, completed the podium spots on 455.30, with his best score coming in round two - 81.60 points for an Inward 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (407C). 

Matty Lee twist 10m Prelims BDC 2022.jpg
Matty Lee won two British titles in Sheffield

There were eye-catching performances, too, from Kothari (fourth on 447.25) and Ben Cutmore (fifth on 430.50) - but it was Lee who came out on top, marking a memorable return to the individual side of the sport.

"It's the first time I've done individual since the start of 2020, so it's been more than two years since I've done it. I was really nervous coming back to it, I can't lie, but it went really well today," he said.

"Noah and I got the gold in the synchro yesterday, and then today, I've managed to get a gold medal in the individual, which is just the perfect way to start off my individual campaign towards the Olympics in 2024. 

"Dive London is where you want to be as a 10m diver. One of us has been British champion every since 2017, which shows it's the place to be, it's the place to be for diving, I think it's the best pool in the world. Tom [Daley] was the first to start training there. I've followed Tom for years and worked alongside him for three years - his excellence is left wherever he goes.

"After the Olympics, my dreams came true, I had a lot of celebrating to do and then did a lot of other stuff outside of diving, which was really fun. It took a while to get back into it, I can't lie, and it was really hard. Everyone around me was already at a level and I was down here, trying to push myself through that was really tough. 

"I didn't compete at National Cup in the winter because I just wasn't ready, but I think that was the best call ever. What I was able to do with Tom at the Olympics has really helped me with my individual career as well."

Earlier in the afternoon, the Women's 3m Springboard final brought that second British title of the meet for City of Sheffield's Harper. 

Yasmin was again cheered on by the crowd in her home pool, and she showed good composure throughout her list to take the gold medal, making it a 1m-3m double.

A third-round Forward 3 1/2 Somersaults Pike (107B) worth 63.55 moved her into the lead, and she did not look back from there, with the 69.00 points scored for her Reverse 2 1/2 Somersaults Pike (305B) in round four the joint-highest tally of the entire final. 

Yasmin Harper somersault pike 3m prelims BDC 2022.jpg
Yasmin Harper

Yasmin closed out on 321.55, with Grace Reid (Dive London Aquatics) following up for silver - as she did in the 1m Springboard event too - on 309.60. European champion Grace matched Yasmin's 69.00-point score in round four, with her effort a Forward 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 Twist (5152B). That ultimately saw her finish on 309.60. 

British bronze went to Evie Smith of Crystal Palace Diving Club. Evie, who is part of the 17-strong team selected for July's European Junior Championships, finished with 274.90 points to her name, thanks in part to a solid Reverse 2 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (305C) in round four. Overall bronze went to Italy's Elisa Pizzini on 280.50. 

Reflecting on her second victory of the competition, Harper said: "I'm really pleased with how the 3m went. It's been a long few months since the last Nationals, I'm just really pleased that it went well and that all the people behind me helped me to get that win. 

"Grace has great consistency so it was good for me to show that consistency too in the final. I'm hoping it's going to be a busy summer."

Reid herself - who will be hoping to earn selection for a third World Championships team in the coming weeks - was full of praise for this event's return to Ponds Forge, which last hosted a British Diving Championships in 2016. 

"I haven't dived at Sheffield for a long time and I've missed this pool, it's been great to be back," said the two-time Olympian. 

"The event has been amazing, I'm really pleased at being really consistent across the weekend, no dramas and a really positive performance on 1m and 3m. I'm pleased to be diving consistently individually again. 

"We'll have to wait to see what happens with qualification, obviously it's such a tough field and tough event. We'll see what happens, but I'm hoping that I've got things to gear towards this summer and carry on the preparations I've been making because I'm really enjoying my diving right now and I think the results reflect that. 

"I had a bit of a reset come August, September, and to be back finding my own feet, it's been really good for me. If synchro comes back around again, I'll be in a better place to give to whatever partnership I have."

For full results from every single event across the Championships, click here.

To relive every session of action from our livestream footage, visit the British Swimming YouTube channel. 

Women's 3m Springboard medals BDC 2022 Yasmin Harper gold Grace Reid silver Evie Smith bronze
The podium for the Women's 3m Springboard event