Three silvers for Great Britain’s divers at the World Aquatics ChampionshipsJuly 24, 2023
Great Britain’s divers returned from the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan with three silver medals.
All three came in the synchronised events as the pairs of Jack Laugher and Anthony Harding, Andrea Spendolini Sirieix and Lois Toulson, and Scarlett Mew-Jensen and Yasmin Harper all stepped onto the podium at the Fukuoka Prefectural Pool last week.
There were plenty of other strong British performances in Japan as the British contingent secured eight Olympic quota spots for next summer’s Games in Paris.
It means that Great Britain now have nine of a possible 12 Olympic diving quota spots – following Eden Cheng’s gold at the European Games last month.
Laugher and Harding opened up the medal haul for Team GB with their silver in the Men’s 3m Synchronised event on day two.
They repeated their result from last year as the duo’s consistent display saw them return to the podium.
Two outstanding dives in rounds four and five – including a Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults Tuck worth 83.22 points that was the highest-scoring of the round sent them on their way to second place with a total score of 424.62.
And this medal meant more than most for the pair after they overcame recent injury setbacks to earn the silver to close out the season.
“It’s been a hugely stressful day.” Laugher said.
“It’s been a rough ride for me and Anthony, although we’ve been really successful this year I’ve had a terrible knee which still is not 100 per cent at all. Anthony had two massive injuries as well in the pre-season, so this year has been, in comparison to last year, not smooth sailing at all.
“But we are here, we’ve done the job, we’re really happy with the performance, there are still some things to improve on.
“Between Anthony and I, we just want to thank everyone who has been involved in getting us to where we are now – without the physios, doctors, medical staff, our coaches, friends and family and everyone involved in our team, we would not be here without them. It’s been a very emotional day with some dropped dives here and there, but we’re really happy overall.”
Spendolini-Sirieix and Toulson make history
Andrea Spendolini Siriex and Lois Toulson made history with their silver medal as they became the first British women to ever win a diving medal at a World Championships.
Three dives that scored more than 70 points apiece in the final three rounds saw them finish on 311.76 just behind China’s Chen Yuxi and Quan Hongchan.
Their final round dive was a joy to behold as the pair held their nerve with a brilliant Back 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 1/2 Twists that scored them 74.88.
It followed on from their European title and World Cup silver in the past year with both athletes stepping onto a world podium for the first time Japan.
Reflecting on the performance the pair were proud to make history by earning the medal.
Toulson said “I think I can speak for both of us that we are over the moon.
“Coming into this competition, we both knew that we could do it, but that sometimes makes it worse when you know you can do it.
“But we put in a good performance and we’re over the moon! I can’t really believe that, I had no idea [being the first British divers to win a women’s Worlds medal]. I’ve been after a world medal for a while now, so to finally come away with one, and next to Andrea with a good performance, it makes all the hard work feel worth it.”
Andrea added: “It’s incredible. I’m so proud of us, and to see women in sport excelling, proving we can do everything, I am so proud of us.
“It didn’t cross my mind when we were competing, I just knew that we had a goal to achieve. We have achieved so many goals – we got the Paris spot, we got more than 300 points, we improved on the prelims and then adding to history is a beautiful moment.
“We had to put our training on hold because of my exams, so our training has been limited coming into these World Championships, but I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made – from prelims to final, and from the Diving World Cup events in China and Montreal, all of those. We are on the up and it just gets better every time.”
A first World Championships medal for Harper and Mew Jensen
Just 24 hours later, Mew Jensen and Harper teamed up for silver in the Women’s 3m Synchronised competition.
It saw the pair win their first World Championship medals as they added Britain’s third and final medal of the this year’s World Championships.
After qualifying third in the prelims they made their intentions clear in the penultimate round with a score of 70.68 for their Forward 3 ½ Somersaults Pike which was their highest individual score of the competition.
That saw them finish with an overall score of 296.58 which was 11 points clear of the USA in fourth.
An emotional Mew Jensen reacted to their historic medal saying: “There’s loads of emotions, I’m still in shock, I still can’t really believe it.
“I’ll definitely have a massive cry later and got a few tears earlier, nothing crazy, but yeah, I’m incredibly proud of both of us. Unbelievable.”
Harper added: “We’re a fairly new pair and haven’t had loads of training together so we’re improving quite quickly, but we came in here just to go for it and we’ve come out of it with a silver medal and couldn’t be happier – that’s another quota spot to add to the list.
“I think it really shows the improvements we’ve made over the last few years, I think Lois and Andrea winning that medal yesterday really gave us some inspiration because we want that too, so going forwards I think the girls have really got a good shot.”
All three of those medals secured an Olympic quota spot with Matty Lee and Noah Williams winning a fourth Olympic synchronised place with fourth in the Men’s 10m Platform.
The Commonwealth champions narrowly missed out on a podium position after a nail-biting battle between the top four nations in the competition.
The duo ended with a total of 419.82 with an impressive Forward 4 ½ Somersaults Tuck earning them 91.02 points alone.
Another five quota spots were won in the individual events, which required athletes to finish in the top 12 and qualify for the final.
Two of those came in the Men’s 10m Platform, where Noah Williams (fourth) and Kyle Kothari (fifth) just missed out on the podium in a thrilling climax to the diving programme in Japan.
Toulson (fifth) earnt Team GB another quota place in the Women’s 10m Platform with Daniel Goodfellow (fifth) in the Men’s 3m Springboard and Mew Jensen (ninth) in the Women’s 3m Springboard.