Great Britain win seven medals in the first leg of the Diving World Cup

Great Britain’s divers continued their fine form from 2022 as they won seven medals at the first leg of the 2023 Diving World Cup in Xi’an, China.

The three legged event, which replaces the previous diving World Series, was held from 14-16 April with the British team winning five silver and two bronze medals across the three days.

The competition was the first major international diving event of the year and the team put in some stellar performances which included four silver medals across each of the synchronised events on the opening day.

The British teams of Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, Matty Lee and Noah Williams, Scarlett Mew-Jensen and Yasmin Harper as well as Jack Laugher and Anthony Harding all won silver to start off the competition.

Synchro stars

It began with Toulson and Spendolini-Sirieix’s success in the Women’s 10m event.

The pair – in just the second international appearance together – asserted themselves into second place after round three and never looked back.

A Back 2 1/2 Somersaults, 1 1/2 Twists Pike in the final round was their best dive of the contest, adding them 75.84 points on their way to a total of 310.44 and a silver medal place.

Lee and Williams followed suit in the Men’s 10m Platform.

It was the duo’s first competition of the season and they came within 40 points of stopping the Chinese dominance of the competition.

Lee and Williams put in a consistent display on their return as they put together a massive score of 418.98 as they were the only other pair to break the 400-point barrier.

An eye-catching Back 2 1/2 Somersaults 2 1/2 Twists Pike that scored 85.32 points, the highest-ranking dive of round three, was their best effort as they impressed the judges throughout the event.

The new pairing of Mew-Jensen and Harper then took to the boards in the Women’s 3m Synchronised Springboard.

They won Britain’s third silver on the opening day as they scored a total of 281.43 just ahead of Germany’s Lena Hentschel and Jana Lisa.

Harper and Mew-Jensen were behind the German duo coming into the final two rounds but they held their nerve with two strong dives to finish the competition in second place.

“We started to be a pair only after we arrived in Xi’an. We had to do a couple of jumps together for three day’s of training, so we’re happy to end with silver medals” Harper told World Aquatics.

And not to be outdone, Laugher and Harding got the final silver of Friday’s events.

The European and Commonwealth Champions improved throughout the rounds, with their best scoring dive coming in round five.

That dive was a Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck that earned them 82.08 points and sent them on their way to a final score of 414.75.

Apart from the Chinese pair of Daoyi Long and Zongyuan Wang, they were only team to score more than 400 points as they finished just over 35 points ahead of the bronze medal place.

Laugher and Spendolini-Sirieix’s solo success

Attention then turned to the solo events with Laugher and Spendolini-Sirieix adding their second of three medals each across the weekend.

Laugher was up first as he won his second silver medal in the Men’s 3m Springboard competition on Saturday.

Four of the City of Leeds diver’s efforts earned him more than 75 points apiece as he set an overall score of 442.95.

That included a Reverse 3 1/2 Somersaults Tuck that was worth 84.00 from the judges.

And despite setting his lowest score with his final dive, he had already done more than enough to move himself clear of the chasing pack to slot into second behind China’s Wang Zongyuan.

His City of Leeds teammate Daniel Goodfellow performed well but fell just short of a medal.

He was fourth with a total score of 426.75 just under 12 points off the podium.

On Sunday it was Spendolini-Sirieix’s turn to add her second medal of the competition.

The European Champion won bronze in the Women’s 10m Platform, a position she never looked like surrendering.

Her consistency across her dives was impressive with scores of 67.20, 67.50 and 67.20 in between scores of 76.80 to start off her list and her best dive that gave her 81.60 to end it.

That gave her a total of 360.30 that was more than 50 points clear of those that missed out on the podium.

City of Leeds diver Lois Toulson placed sixth on 299.40, with her Armstand Back 2 Somersaults 1 1/2 Twists the standout of her list in securing 70.40 points.

In the Women’s 3m Springboard, City of Sheffield’s Yasmin Harper and Scotland’s Grace Reid were even closer to the medal places.

Harper was sixth but still within 10 points of the bronze medal, whilst Reid was fourth and just 2.10 behind Japan’s Sayaka Mikami.

Noah Williams and Ben Cutmore both placed in the top eight of the Men’s 10m Platform.

Williams sat in a medal place after the fifth round but he just slipped out of a podium spot as his total of 415.80 saw him end up in fifth.

Cutmore was eighth, scoring a total of 371.35 in his first World Cup event.

Finishing in style

The Mixed 3m & 10m Team Event rounded out the competition where GB added their seventh and final medal of the weekend.

The quartet of Laugher, Harper, Lee and Spendolini-Sirieix joined forces to win bronze, finishing narrowly behind the German team in second place.

They combined to score 420.15 points throughout the six rounds of diving, missing out on the silver by just 5.20 points.

Lee performed the team’s best scoring dive with an impressive Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck that scored 88.80 points whilst Spendolini-Sirieix had the best scoring dive of round four with her arm stand effort scoring 76.80 as they comfortably secured a podium place.

That saw Great Britain end the competition in second place in the overall medal table. China led the way after a clean sweep of gold medals across all nine events and Germany sit in third, just two medals behind Britain.

It leaves a number of British divers in a strong position to qualify for the World Cup Super Final which takes place in Berlin, Germany from 4-6 August.

The top 18 divers in individual events and the top eight groups in the synchronised and team events from the opening two legs will qualify for the Super Final.

And winners at that competition in the German capital will be crowned the inaugural World Aquatics Diving World Cup Super-Final champions.

The second leg of the Diving World Cup takes place in Montreal, Canada from 5-7 May.

You can catch up on all the results from Xi’an, China here.

Images – British Swimming