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British junior divers complete week in Croatia with eight European medals

It was a successful week for Great Britain’s junior divers in Rijeka with the talented group winning eight medals at the European Junior Diving Championships.

Three gold, four silver and one bronze were won across the week, which provided the group with some valuable international competition experience at the outdoor arena on the Croatian coastline.

The British success began on Sunday after a consistent display from Oliver Heath saw him win Great Britain’s first gold of the competition.

Following a strong fourth place in the preliminaries, Heath improved on his efforts from the morning session to score a total of 376.55 points to win the B1 Boys 1m Springboard title.

The Plymouth Diving Club athlete showed great composure to better his preliminary performance by 41.65 points from his four-dive list.

Just three points separated the top three coming into the final dive where Heath held his nerve to record his best score of the competition.

His Forward 1 1/2 Somersaults 2 Twists Free earnt him a score of 54.60 that saw him finish narrowly ahead of Lithuania’s Martynas Lisauskas and Germany’s Finn Awe to top the podium.

Following the final Heath said: “I’m very proud considering it’s my first Europeans so I’m over the moon.”

“I saw it was close between the top three and because we all have the same last dive it was a bit more nerve-wracking, but it all worked out.”

Heath then returned to the boards on Thursday to win silver in the Boys B 3m event.

He made sure he left his mark on the competition to claim his second individual medal thanks to a total score of 428.65.

Heath and Lisauskas were once again locked in close competition but this time the Plymouth diver got the edge by just 0.55 to earn silver.

Ukraine’s Mark Hrystenko won gold with 460.15 with Oscar Kane also performing well for Great Britain to finish fourth.

An impressive Reverse 2 ½ Somersault Tuck in the final round saw Kane miss out on the medals by just under 11 points. That final dive was his best of the competition, scoring 65.80 points.

Fisher-Eames shines

Jorden Fisher-Eames was one of the standout performers of the competition.

The 15-year-old leaves Croatia with both individual and synchronised medals in a strong showing from the Dive London athlete.

His week was headlined with gold in the Boys B Platform final where he reclaimed the title he won in Bucharest last year.

A stunning series of dives from Fisher-Eames saw him win out a head-to-head battle for the gold with Ukrainian, Hrystenko.

The duo were separated by less than two points as they qualified as the top two for the final with the scores being carried over for the medal decider.

But it was Fisher-Eames who took control with an exquisite Back 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck (207C) receiving 85.80 from the judges in round two of the showpiece event.

That catapulted himself into the lead with what was the dive of the competition and it was a lead he held on to professionally for the final two rounds.

Sheffield Diving’s Archie Biggin also contested the Boys B platform final, finishing 12th in the standings.

“I’m amazed and couldn’t have done anything else today.” Fisher-Eames said.

“I had a fantastic opponent in Mark [Hrytsenko] and he pushed me hard, but I did everything I could and I want to thank my coaches for all their help getting me here.”

The result followed Fisher-Eames’ silver medal earlier in the week which he won alongside partner Noah Penman.

They earnt second spot in the Boys A/B Platform Synchronised with a total score of 283.02.

Penman of Aberdeen Diving Club and Fisher-Eames wowed the crowd throughout, receiving no score less than seven in synchronisation judges for any of their five dives.

Brown and Smith win synchro gold

Tilly Brown and Evie Smith won Great Britain’s third and final gold medal of Rijeka 2023 with a dominant display in the Girls A/B 3m Synchronised final.

Brown of Southampton Diving Academy and Dive London’s Smith were a class apart as they finished more than 35 points ahead of their nearest challengers.

Their dives in round three and five were the only two dives of the competition that scored more than 60 points with their Inward 2 ½ Somersault Pike their highest scoring dive that received 64.80 points from the judges.

They ended with a final score of 268.80 with the Italian duo of Rebecca Ciancaglini and Elisa Pizzini in second on 231.00.

“We’re so proud and happy because we’ve trained so hard for this,” said Smith.

Brown added: “It’s good to show that consistency and that will definitely give us a bit more confidence going up to senior level.”

Dive London’s duo of Juliette John and Hannah Newbrook added another silver for Great Britain in the Girls A/B Platform Synchronised final.

They just missed out on the crown after the Ukrainian pair of Diana Shevchenko and Alisa Mieshkova took away the title with their final dive.

John and Newbrook performed well and put together two efforts that scored more than 55 points to close out their list but they fell just short, finishing around three points behind Ukraine’s final total.

Euan McCabe and Leon Baker were even closer to topping the podium in the Boys A/B Synchronised contest.

They won bronze in a thrilling final where they were within a single point of the winning pair.

The top five teams were separated by less than five points with McCabe and Baker scoring a total of 298.53.

The pair’s top scoring dive came in the final round with their Forward 2 1/2 Somersaults 2 Twists Pike earning 70.38 points as they were rewarded with a place on the podium.

Lee hits the podium to round out the competition

Robbie Lee rounded out the European Junior Diving Championships with silver in the Boys A Platform final.

The Southampton Diving Academy diver improved on his score in the preliminary round to rise up to take home the silver medal following his final five dives.

Lee was second to Germany’s Jaden Eikermann in the prelims but he narrowly topped the standings for the points that were carried over into the final.

Despite the talent of the German it was Ukraine’s Danylo Avanesov that battled with Lee for gold throughout the final.

Lee held the lead throughout the early stages but a score of 84.60 from Avanesov propelled him into the lead after round three.

The European senior medallists battled back with his own best dive of the competition in the penultimate round. He scored 83.30 for this Reverse 3 1/2 Somersault Tuck as he closed the gap on the Ukrainian in both the final two rounds.

It wasn’t quite enough despite a stunning list from Lee who ended the competition in second place with a total of 541.50.

Lee’s Southampton teammate Bryn James also competed in the final, finishing in a highly respected sixth place. He ended on a total of 479.25.

A number of other British hopefuls just missed out on medals in impressive displays in Croatia.

The British team of Hugo Thomas, Smith, John and Lee opened up the proceedings with a fourth place finish in the Mixed Team Event on Saturday.

Underwood was just nudged out of the medals in the final round of the Girls B 1m final whilst she also finished fifth in the Girls B 3m event.

Ahead of their synchro success, Brown and Smith were fourth and fifth respectively in the individual Girls A final.

Newbrook and Penman both placed fifth in the Girls A Platform, and the Boys A 1m Springboard final respectively with Baker seventh, just behind Penman.

And on the final day of competition Brown was fifth in the Girls A 3m final with partner Smith in 11th.

Full results from the LEN European Diving Championships 2023 can be found on DiveRecorder, with all the action available to watch back via LEN TV.

Images: British Swimming