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Thomas and Baker team up to take gold on opening day of Elite Juniors in Southend

Leon Baker and Hugo Thomas teamed up to take gold on the opening day of the British Elite Junior Diving Championships 2022.

The four day-long event, hosted by Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre, kicked off with the Boys B 1m, Boys A 3m, Girls 13 and under Synchro 3m, Boys 14-18 Synchro 3m and Girls 14-18 Synchro Platform competitions.

Southampton Diving Academy’s Baker and Dive London’s Thomas, who are coached by Lindsey Fraser and Sam Buck respectively, scored an overall total of 276.72 to finish on top of the podium in the Boys 14-18 Synchro 3m final.

They were the only pairing to score more than 60 points in any round, which they achieved in rounds three, four and five.

The duo opened their account with a back dive in pike (46.20), followed by an inward 1 ½ somersaults in pike (39.00), which saw them score 85.20 after two rounds.

They went on to score 63.00 for their inward 2 ½ somersaults in pike and 63.24 for their forward 3 ½ somersaults in pike.

Their largest score was awarded for their fifth and final dive, the forward 2 ½ somersaults, 2 twists in pike, which racked up 65.28 points.

Earning silver was City of Sheffield’s Arthur Turner-Rowe and Oscar Willcox with 255.84. They were followed by Southend Diving’s Connor Lano and Todd Geggus (238.98) in third.

Thomas takes individual gold

Before joining together for gold, Thomas and Baker also went head-to-head in the Boys A 3m final.

It was the former who took the victory, with the latter winning individual silver.

Thomas stood out in what was a highly competitive final, putting on a good performance to score 533.90.

It was his round three dive, the forward 2 ½ somersaults, 2 twists in pike, which earned his highest score of 71.40.

Baker, who managed an impressive score of 74.80 in his final dive, recorded a total of 523.60 for second place.

Euan McCabe (503.20) of Plymouth Diving was the bronze medallist and the commemorative bronze medal winner was Irish athlete Jake Passmore (514.70) of the City of Leeds.

Winning ways for City of Leeds duo

There wasn’t much to separate the gold and silver medal places in the Girls 14-18 Synchro Platform final.

City of Leeds pairing Chloe Johnson and Jaeda Sharman finished with 232.29 points, while Luton Diving Club’s Lily Chandler and Dive London’s Saeren Brett scored 231.12.

Round four was the stand out for Johnson and Sharman as well as Chandler and Brett.

The City of Leeds duo scored 53.04 for their back 2 ½ somersaults, ½ twist in pike, while the silver medal-winning pair scored 54.27 for their inward 2 ½ somersaults in tuck.

Kane claims gold in 1m competition

In the Group B Boys 1m final, Luton Diving Club’s Oscar Kane finished on top as he bettered his preliminary score to win gold.

Kane recorded his highest scores in rounds three and four, with 50.70 for his forward 2 ½ somersaults in pike and 50.40 for his inward 1 ½ somersaults in pike.

He finished with an overall score of 373.30, an improvement of 12.25 on his score from the preliminary round (361.05).

After entering the final with the highest prelim score, Southend Diving’s Connor Lano landed second place at his home pool with a total of 364.45.

In third was City of Sheffield’s Oscar Willcox with 360.90. Sweden’s Peder Saur Hubred was also awarded a commemorative bronze medal after scoring 361.10.

Crystal Palace pair finish on top

The Girls 13 and under Synchro 3m final saw just two pairs face off against each other.

Crystal Palace Diving Club’s Phoebe Morgan and Juliette John were the highest scorers with 208.74, earning them the gold medal.

Hannah Gowan and Daisy Lindsay of City of Sheffield managed a total of 180.45 for silver.

After the opening day of competition, Suzie Collins, Swim England Talent Development Officer for Diving, said: “It’s been brilliant to be back at competition.

“The balconies were full and the atmosphere was back. It’s been great to see some really good performances.

“It’s been wonderful to see all the hard work that the athletes on the Swim England talent pathway have put in during their home programmes and in training now being displayed in competition. All the hard work has really paid off.

“It’s also a great opportunity to see how the divers stand against the rest of the world.

“We have divers here from as far as Canada and the USA, so it’s brilliant for them to really see where they stand internationally ahead of the Junior Europeans and Junior Worlds later in the year.”