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Leon Baker bags first British senior medal to hand coach perfect birthday present

Teenager Leon Baker won his first individual senior diving medal to give his coach the perfect birthday present at the British Diving Championships.

The 14-year-old Southampton diver, part of the Swim England Diving Talent Pathway, bagged a brilliant bronze in the Men’s 1m Springboard competition in Plymouth.

Baker set a personal best of 282.50 as he qualified in fourth place in the morning’s preliminary round and then shattered that score to smash the 300-point barrier on his way to sealing a podium place.

He finished with a total of 334.20 – a huge 28.45 clear of Edinburgh’s Ross Beattie, who was fourth in 305.75.

It marked the ideal way for his coach, Olympic diving judge Lindsey Fraser, to celebrate her birthday.

Lindsey said: “Leon showed maturity beyond his years, staying calm and composed in an environment full of high-level senior international divers and Olympians.

“I’m very proud of him.”

Julian Bellan, British Swimming’s Diving Talent and Development Manager, praised Baker’s display saying: “It was a brilliant performance from such a young talent.

“What is great to see is such a high level of composure and maturity amongst the seniors.”

City of Sheffield’s Jordan Houlden put on an assured performance to take the gold medal with a total of 379.70.

That was 15.60 points clear of Jamaica’s Yona Knight-Wisdom, who won a commemorative silver on 364.10.

City of Leeds’ Anthony Harding took the British silver medal after finishing with a score of 54.15.

Synchro silver for Leon and Cameron

Baker then teamed up with his Southampton Diving Academy team-mate Cameron Gammage for the Men’s 3m Synchro – and came away with second spot.

The duo scored 351.24 points to finish 48.18 behind champions Houlden and Harding, who ended on 399.42.

Italy’s Lorenzo Marsaglia and Giovanni Tocci won a commemorative bronze with a total of 335.61, while Edinburgh’s James Heatly and Ross Beattie took the British third place on 300.21.

It all goes to plan for Yasmin

Yasmin Harper said everything ‘pretty much went to plan’ as she won her first British title at Plymouth.

The City of Sheffield diver led from start to finish to take the gold medal in the Women’s 1m Springboard – after qualifying for the final by also leading the preliminary rankings.

Harper finished with a total of 245.10 at Plymouth to top the podium ahead by 10.90 points from Sweden’s Emma Gullstrand.

She said: “It [being British champion] feels really really good.

“It’s nice to start with the 1m and it pretty much went to plan. I’m happy that I got the consistency going through the preliminary and the final.”

Edinburgh’s Millie Fowler won the British silver medal on 235.90, while Diving Team Tiirat’s Lauren Hallaselka picked up a commemorative bronze after recording a score of 235.30.

City of Sheffield’s Richelle Houlden was the British bronze medallist with a total of 225.90.

Gold for Lois and Eden

Lois Toulson and Eden Cheng took top spot in the Women’s 10m Synchro – but were pushed all the way by Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix and Josie Zillig.

City of Leeds’ Toulson and Crystal Palace’s Cheng won the gold medal by only 0.96 points after finishing with a score of 277.80.

The Crystal Palace duo of Spendolini-Sirieix and Zillig started strongly but had to settle for the silver medal with a score of 276.84.

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