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Desharne Bent-Ashmeil stars as Britain top medal table at European Championships

Great Britain’s divers completed an exceptional week in Belgrade by topping the medal table at the European Championships.

The nine-strong team won four gold and three bronze medals across the seven days with Desharne Bent-Ashmeil, Amy Rollinson, Ben Cutmore, Euan McCabe and Robbie Lee all taking home European golds.

It was Dive London’s Bent-Ashmeil who was the star of the show however, coming away with three golds from her time in Serbia.

The 19-year-old won individual, synchronised and mixed synchronised titles where she won three golds in as many days during the competition.

Her first came in the 3m Mixed Synchronised Springboard where she teamed with Cutmore to brilliant effect.

The pair moved into the lead in round four after their Forward 2 ½ Somersaults 1 Twist Pike scored 63.90 points as they moved ahead of Sweden’s Elias Petersen and Emilia Nilson Garip.

The Swede’s kept the competition close, finishing just seven points off the Dive London duo who kept their composure to close out their list with a 63-point Inward 2 ½ Somersault Pike.

Desharne’s first individual gold

Just a day later and Bent-Ashmeil was back in synchro action as she joined forces with long term partner Rollinson as they retained their Women’s 3m Synchronised Springboard title from the European Games on Thursday.

It was once again a close battle with Sweden with their pair of Nina Janmyre and Elna Widerstrom leading for the majority of the contest.

Consistency was the key in the end however with Bent-Ashmeil and Rollinson surging the top of the leaderboard with their final dive to come away with the title.

Speaking on their success as a partnership Rollinson said: “We’ve come together a couple of years ago and found out that our techniques matched well.

“Here there was the first time we had a proper practice together as we both were focusing on our individual events but we also found that if we do that we can do the synchro better.”

A first European individual gold followed as Bent-Ashmeil made a hat-trick on Friday evening.

It was an emphatic performance from the 19-year-old, whose top quality display saw her take the crown by more than 60 points.

She ended on a total of 305.15 from her five-dive list which was highlighted by a brilliant Back 2 ½ Somersault Pike in round two and a closing Forward 3 ½ Somersault Pike that earned her 67.50 and 66.65 points respectively.

“I’m very satisfied, I’ve been working very hard, I’ve done so much training,” said Bent-Ashmeil. “By the grace of God, I was able to get through this. I kept my cool and peace to carry on.

“Even if there was much going on, so many people were up and down so I’m very grateful that I was keeping my cool.”

Rollinson also made the final of the individual event where she finished ninth.

‘Amazing feeling’ for Robbie Lee after European gold

Robbie Lee went from silver to gold in Belgrade in the Men’s 10m Platform.

The now London trained athlete, after moving from Southampton, added to his European Games silver from 12 months ago with gold to round out the Championships in Serbia.

Stepping up in the final event of the programme, Lee was almost faultless as he nailed two 90 plus point dives on his way to the title.

His second-round Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck scored a competition-high of 92.50 points whilst his fifth-round Reverse 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck scored some nines and 9.5s to earn him 88.40 and put him well clear of any challengers heading into the final round.

He then closed his list with a brilliant Back 2 1/2 Somersaults 2 1/2 Twists Pike (5255B) for 91.80 to finish more than 50 points clear of Spain’s Carlos Camacho Del Hoyo on 489.50 points and within touching distance of the 500-point mark.

“I’m European champion and I’m feeling amazing. This gold medal has been down to a lot of commitment and hard work over a lot of years,” he said.

“I also recently moved to London (from his original Southampton Diving Club training base), and I’m glad I did, as I think I’ve gained a lot of strength, probably wisdom as well, and I think my diving has got a lot better.

“I think my most important dive was my four and a half tuck in round two. It’s a dive I usually put at the end of my list, but it hasn’t been going too great recently and I really messed it up at the Olympic trials. I wasn’t going to use it, but I told my coach I wanted to and I’m glad I did as it paid off.”

Behind him, Cutmore recovered from a slight error in round four to round out the podium.

He showed great resilience after dropping from second to sixth ahead of his final two dives. He bounced back with a composed Back 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (207C) for 75.90 getting him up to third, and that result was secured with a clutch closer worth 84.60 points, for an overall score of 429.90 and bronze.

Matthew Dixon, Ben Cutmore and Euan McCabe round out British medal haul

Two more bronze medals completed the British medal haul in Serbia with Euan McCabe winning his first senior international medal alongside Cutmore in the Men’s 10m Synchronised Platform final.

The pair maintained a high level across their five dives, scoring a total of 350.70 to win bronze with Cutmore putting the British duo’s medal down to preparation.

“Every year we come here with a different team, and every time it’s been about acclimatising to the pool, getting used to doing your dives next to different people, getting used to doing your dives in different pools,” he said,

“Every time you go to different pools so it’s all about acclimatisation. It’s hard as we didn’t spend much time together. If we had had more time together, today it could have been a different result.”

In the Men’s 3m Springboard finale, Dixon delivered three cracking dives in the second half of his list to move from ninth to third and claim bronze.

A score of 85.50 for his closing Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (109C) saw him leapfrog France’s Jules Bouyer to ensure some silverware.

“It was mixed emotions, to be honest,” he said. “It was a proper dogfight, I jumped one dive for
40 points then I fought my way back.

“I’m really happy to battle my way through and coming off with a bronze medal. I enjoyed these days here, the weather is so hot and I love it!”

Leon Baker and Hugo Thomas also impressed on their senior international debut to finish in fifth in the Men’s 3m Synchronised Springboard final. Baker was also fifth in the individual 3m event with Thomas narrowly missing out on the 1m final.

Tilly Brown’s maiden European Championships saw her finish 17th in the Women’s 1m Springboard with Rollinson in tenth.

All the results from across every discipline at the European Aquatics Championships are available on the European Aquatics Belgrade 2024 website.

Images: European Aquatics