Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix and Lois Toulson took the first women's title of the British National Diving Cup 2023, with Kyle Kothari and Ben Cutmore repeating the feat for the men's side as the platform synchro divers got things underway in Edinburgh.
Toulson and Spendolini-Sirieix, from City of Leeds Diving Club and Dive London Aquatics respectively, led the whole way through the five rounds of dives to claim the crown, six months on from topping the European Championships podium in their maiden outing.
A solid showing through their first two required 2.0 difficulty dives saw them edge ahead of the Dive London pairing of Emily Martin and Robyn Birch at the early stages, before they pulled away with an impressive back end of dives, culminating with a Back 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 1/2 Twist Pike (5253B), which scored them 73.92 to give them a total score of 298.80.
Martin and Birch ultimately fell away from the pairing on the last set of dives, despite them keeping with the winners in what was a closely-fought battle up to that point. The pairing put themselves right in contention following their penultimate dive - their Inward 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (407C) giving them a score of 65.28, before ultimately finishing on 270.30 after their final round of dives. The Edinburgh Diving club duo of Libby Duke and Ellen Gillespie rounded off the results, as they took bronze with a score of 201.87 in their home pool.
Speaking after being presented with the gold, Lois was happy with the performance they were able to put in at such an early stage in the season.
"It was good. There was quite a lot to work on as we're still a new partnership, so it was good to get an event done to know how we work together. It's always good to start off the year at nationals and get some competitions going, not even just for this year but through to Worlds as well. Hopefully we can get a few more competitions ahead of those big events," she said.
Andrea then paid tribute to Lois, and how they have been able to perform together following their unification last year.
"It's been really easy working with Lois. She's a lovely person and our technique is quite similar, so it's really nice to find someone that works well with me and we work well together. It's good to be at this event ahead of starting the new year so that we can build some confidence and try new things, but I'm really happy with how it's going so far," she added.
Kothari and Cutmore continued their impressive link-up in the men's event with a series of strong dives to finish on a solid score of 402.99.
The Dive London pairing scored over 100 points in their first two dives, and they never went under the 70 points mark from there - with their Back 2 1/2 Somersault 2 1/2 Twist Pike (5255B) giving them their highest score of 76.80 on their third round, before continuing in that fashion all the way to the end, as they looked good value for their gold-medal performance.
Reflecting on their list, Kyle said: "It's not quite our personal best, but it's definitely our second-best score together. There is still room for improvement too, which is good."
Ben added: "The thing I'm happy about is that we competed well and we've trained well. So to put in two lists that were just as good as each other means more to me and my personal development alongside Kyle than the medal."
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