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Two medals as Brits return to Olympic pool

25 April 2014

The British Gas GBR Diving team celebrated their return to the Olympic pool with two medals on the opening night of the FINA/NVC Diving World Series in London Aquatics Centre.

Competing in London for the first time since London 2012, Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow scooped 10m Synchro silver in the opening session before Rebecca Gallantree and Hannah Starling added 3m Synchro bronze to close the night.

"Our preparation for this weekend had gone really well so it was nice to go in there feeling relaxed and in a good mood," - Sarah BarrowCouch and Barrow – who were European champions two years ago – put in a consistent performance for a season’s best 321.24 to pick up silver behind China’s world champions Liu Huixia and Chen Ruolin (337.14).

While Couch and Barrow finished fourth and fifth at the opening two legs of this year’s World Series in Beijing and Dubai respectively, they were never out of the top two positions in London, leading after their opening two ‘required’ dives, then cementing second position with 70.20 for their penultimate dive.

The Brits’ top score of 77.76 came on their final effort as they held off Canada’s World Championship silver medallists Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion (316.11).

And the pair admitted it was the perfect homecoming, having worked hard on correcting their timing and synchronicity since the opening legs of the World Series last month.

"We're really pleased - it was a really good competition," said Barrow. "The crowd were so amazing and we enjoyed every second of it.

“Our preparation for this weekend had gone really well so it was nice to go in there feeling relaxed and in a good mood.”

"Our dives were really good today," added Couch. "But also our synchro was a lot better than it has been.

"There wasn't much pressure on us today and I think it helped to feel good about ourselves. The crowd really helped with that."

Gallantree and Starling’s medal came as more as surprise, the pair competing for only the second time competitively and the first time on the international stage.

The Brits started slowly, lying fifth after the optionals, before gradually making their way through the field and jumping up to third with 72.90 for their penultimate dive – a back 2.5 somersaults piked.

China’s world champions Shi Tingmao and Wu Minxia won gold on 332.40 ahead of Italy’s world silver medallists Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape on 306.90.

But the Brits held on to their podium position to score 302.88 overall – a tally which would have earned them the same medal at last year’s World Championships in Barcelona.

“We’re really pleased because we’ve really not done much training together and really only had a week before London,” said Gallantree. “To be competing here at the Olympic pool and to win a medal is a fantastic feeling.

"To get over the 300 barrier is great and both our families were here supporting us to so to do it in front of them is really special," - Rebecca Gallantree“To get over the 300 barrier is great and both our families were here supporting us to so to do it in front of them is really special.”

“I had absolutely no idea where we were placed,” added Starling. “My third dive wasn’t so good and I had to do a really good back dive for my own sanity otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to sleep!

“But when I hit the water, I could feel it had gone down well so I was quite happy.”

Chris Mears and Jack Laugher also impressed in their first international outing together as they finished fourth in the 3m Synchro.

The British pair scored 431.82 for their six dives as China’s world champions He Chong and Qin Kai claimed gold on 469.41. 

Matty Lee and Dan Goodfellow finished fifth with a personal best in the men’s 10m Synchro final.

The British pair, competing in their maiden World Series season, breached the 400 marker for six dives for the first time as they scored 403.86 with China’s Chen Aisen and Yang Jian taking gold on 479.13.

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