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Day One sees young divers step up

29 June 2012

City of Sheffield divers Sarah Leach and Matilda Rhys-Kristensen win gold on day one of the 2012 British Gas National Age Group Diving Championships.

Sarah Leach (13 years old) and Matilda Rhys-Kristensen (12 years old) formed a formidable pair in today’s 8-13yr Girls 1m Synchro and fought off stiff competition to claim the title on their home turf in Sheffield.

With a score of 186.12 and an incredible tally of seven 9s throughout the four rounds, the duo held off Crystal Palace Diving Club pairs Madeleine Sweet and Lexie Howard and Maria Papworth and Scarlett Mew-Jensen who placed 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The Sheffield duo’s performance at this year’s competition is cause for particular celebration for City of Sheffield’s Diving Coach Tom Owens.

“The girls have only been diving since 2009 and this is the first time they have performed together in this event, so it is fantastic for them to come away with the gold,” said Owens.

Their victory marks the third year running in which City of Sheffield divers have dominated in this event.

“It’s great to retain the title,” Owens added. “Sarah won this event last year with a different partner but managed to surpass their previous score of 174 by over 10 points this year – it’s a fantastic achievement”.

Day one also saw the conclusion of the Boys 8-13yr 1m Synchro, with Luton Kingfishers divers Henry Biggs and James Cripps triumphing over rivals Harrison Rafton and Ollie Piper (Plymouth Diving) and Thomas Wrightson and Theo Barnes (Southampton Diving Academy) with a total score of 165.12.

The competition was closely contested with just over 10 points separating the medals, but the Luton pair battled hard and came out on top in their first national synchronised diving event.

The  Boys 14-18yr 3m Synchro followed on closely with Adam Goundry and Chris Nicholls from Harrogate District Diving Club and City of Leeds Diving Club respectively sealing the top spot with a score of 225.36, 20 points clear of their closest opponents Alex Carrier and Ben Carman (Beaumont Diving Academy).

The duo are not shy of national success with Goundry winning the 3m Synchro gold and Nicholls claiming bronze in the individual 3m competition at the 2011 British Gas National Age Group Diving Championships a year earlier.

The honours in the Girls 14-18yr 3m Synchro went to Beaumont Diving Academy divers Phoenix Page and Summer-Jasmine Sweeney who clinched the title in round five finishing with an impressive Inward 2 ½ Somersault with Tuck dive. The pair claimed the silver medal at the Variopool Amsterdam Diving Cup in Holland earlier this year.

Clearly riding the wave of success, they got the better of City of Sheffield Diving Club divers Millie Fowler and Jade Semper and Crystal Palace Diving Club divers Natasha MacManus and Isobel Ruff  and in the process gained four places on their performance at last year’s National Championships.

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