Records fall as British Diving set Paris platform at World Champs

11 Feb 2024

A record-breaking World Championships for British Diving was more than mission accomplished in the lead-up to this summer's Olympic Games.

Securing the three remaining Olympic quota spots for Team GB was the overriding goal for the British team in Doha. But on top of rubber-stamping those Paris tickets in the Women's 3m Springboard, Men's 3m Springboard and Men's 10m Synchro - meaning Team GB will have a full cohort of spots come July - the British divers accrued a historic seven medals across a packed nine-day schedule, one more than their previous best in Budapest two years ago.

That haul included the Mixed Team world title, history-making individual medals for Grace Reid (Women's 1m Springboard silver) and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (Women's 10m Platform bronze), and a stunning Men's 10m Synchro silver in Tom Daley and Noah Williams' first international competition as a pairing. 

On top of that came second successive World Championship synchro medals from 3m for Yasmin Harper and Scarlett Mew Jensen (bronze) and Spendolini-Sirieix and Lois Toulson from 10m (also bronze), while Ross Haslam's bronze in the Men's 1m Springboard was his maiden medal at this level. 

Six months out from Paris 2024, British Swimming Associate Performance Director Tim Jones acknowledges the timely performances from the divers - and he was also pleased with just how they delivered those performances.

"This competition was probably one of the most challenging competitions we've been at. As the last qualifier heading into the Olympics, the size of the fields is always extreme, and the length of some of the sessions, some of the scheduling, are things that were tough to deal with, but we dealt with them really well," he said.

Tom Daley and Noah Williams Doha 2024 Silver [GettyImages]
Noah Williams (left) and Tom Daley won Men's 10m Synchro silver

"We were really clear before we came here that the goal was absolutely to get those three remaining Olympic quota spots across the line, and we did, and we did that well.

"We also knew that if we focused on that, but also came to make a good representation of ourselves, we stood a good chance of winning some medals, and we've clearly done that as well.

"I'm really proud of what they've done. To be the most successful World Championships that we've ever had is important for us, and it's important for us as well that we don't just talk about it in the context of what the Olympic and non-Olympic events are because, ultimately, we have got seven World Championship medals - and if you actually look at the number of athletes who go home with a medal, that becomes a sizeable portion of the team." 

In total, nine of the 12 divers who competed in Doha stepped on to the podium at least once, including all five of the team's female athletes. 

Last year in Fukuoka, the two synchro medals were British Diving's first ever World medals in women's events. Seven months on, and four of the seven secured in Doha came in such events - Reid in the 1m Springboard, Spendolini-Sirieix in the 10m Platform, and the same two synchro duos as July 2023. 

It was a shining example of the strong position the team is in as they build towards Paris.

"There was a big push on our part well over 12 months ago to start to look at our female divers and try to increase the proportion of medals that we win in women's events," added Jones.

"We started that ball rolling in Fukuoka with two, and we've had four medals in women's events this time around, so there is some really terrific progress that we're making there as well." 

The diving calendar kicks on from Doha with the start of the World Aquatics Diving World Cup later this month in Montreal, before the second leg in Berlin in March and then the Super Final in Xi'an, China in April. 

Yasmin Harper Scarlett Mew Jensen 3m Synchro BRONZE medal shot Doha 2024
Yasmin Harper (left) and Scarlett Mew Jensen

"It's fair to say that in the events we had to get quota places in here, then of course we prepped well for those. But in many of the other events where we've ended up converting performances into medals, that wasn't because we had specifically focused on this event. This event just forms part of a longer preparation through to Paris now," said Jones.

"Exactly the same will apply to the upcoming World Cup events. They are great competitive opportunities, but we're not going to read too much into those. Ultimately, we are going to ensure that the athletes are in great shape for the British Championships, which is the final selection point, and then we'll do what we always do and follow a very similar structure to the back-end of the season, to make sure the team is in a great shape for Paris.

"We've got an experienced, tried-and-tested team staff now that have been together for a good period of time. We are hugely grateful for the support we get through UK Sport and The National Lottery, because without that, we wouldn't be able to put together the type of team that we have in place, which has got some of the most renowned diving expertise in the world."