Couch and Barrow impress with fourth in Shanghai
18 July 2011
Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow signalled their London 2012 medal potential as they finished fourth in the 10m Synchro at the World Championships in Shanghai.
In one of the most competitive performances by British female divers in World Championship history, the British pair were in the medal hunt throughout the five dives with Australia, Mexico, Ukraine and Germany all jostling for position behind runaway winners China.
We were so close to a medal and I think we can be really proud of ourselves.
While Australia (325.92) and Germany (316.29) ultimately took silver and bronze behind China (362.58), Couch and Barrow were less than two points off bronze on 314.52.
And having come so close to becoming Great Britain's first ever female World Championships medallists, the duo insisted their performance was a huge confidence boost ahead of next year's Olympic Games.
"I think we did really well tonight," said Couch. "We were so close to a medal and I think we can be really proud of ourselves.
"Two points in diving is nothing so we are a little disappointed not to be on the podium but our aim was top six and we've improved on that so that was great."
Barrow added: "This performances gives us confidence for next year.
"As host nation, we have an automatic synchro place so we'll have to wait for the selection policy to find out how to get on the Olympic team."
Having competed only a handful of times since Barrow recovered from a seven-month injury lay-off last season, the British duo – who also finished fourth at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi – were targeting a top-six place in China to guarantee a spot in next year’s FINA World Series.
But after qualifying in fourth on 290.28, Couch and Barrow knew they would be chasing the podium places if they could repeat their performance from the morning preliminaries.
They started strongly, scoring 52.20 and 48.60 to sit just 0.6 off second place in fifth after the required dives.
The pair climbed to fourth, scoring 72.96 for their third dive – an inward 3.5 somersaults tuck – before slipping to fifth again with 63.00 for their front 3.5 somersaults pike.
And while Couch and Barrow saved their best until last, scoring 77.76 – including a 9.0 for synchronisation – for their back 2.5 somersaults, 1.5 twists pike, steady efforts from the Australian and German pairs ensured they kept their noses in front.