British Cup National Diving Championships 2017
Britain’s top divers descended upon Plymouth Life Centre from 2nd to 5th February for the British Diving Championships 2017 aiming to secure qualifying spots for the Diving World Series 2017.
Whilst the media focused on our Olympic medallists Jack Laugher, Chris Mears, Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow, the team of eight young divers from Southampton Diving Academy focused on preparing and perfecting their own dives. For some of this young team it was all about getting experience and seeing what to aim for over the next 2 to 3 years, for others it was all about securing spots at this years International competitions. They were competing against the very best divers from the UK, in front of the watchful eyes of the British Diving selectors.
Opting to focus on the Mens 3m Springboard rather than the 1m, Thomas Bailey and Cameron Gammage were the first Southampton divers to compete, with Bailey finishing 15th in his first appearance in this competition. Gammage made 8th position in the preliminaries which took him through to the finals against very strong opposition which included 4 Olympians and a host of GB International divers. He dived very consistently in the finals remaining in 8th position in the senior event and successfully and proudly taking silver in the junior event.
Over in the Women’s 3m Springboard event, Lucy Hawkins was our only representative and she gave a solid performance to finish in12th place, again beating several International divers.
It was in the Women’s Platform event that Southampton made their presence felt. Our 4 best female divers certainly made an impression. Tanya Watson performed a lovely opening dive which scored her a whopping 57.6, however, battling an injury to her shoulder she struggled on her 4th dive, a back two and a half somersault from the 7.5m, which cost her a place in the finals, but she still managed a very creditable 10th place in the senior event.
Hawkins was very consistent once again and took 7th place in the preliminaries seeing her through to the finals.
Gemma McArthur, one of the most experienced divers on the team held her nerve and took 4th place in the prelims, with team mate Emily Martin (who recently competed for Great Britain in the Junior World Championships in Moscow in November) taking 2nd place in the prelims with some lovely score lines including a huge 63 points for her forward 3.5 somersault with poise from the 10m – not for the faint hearted.
So onto the women’s final and with 3 out of our 4 divers through to the final 8, things were looking promising for SDA.
Hawkins was as consistent as ever taking 8th position. Martin didn’t score below a 7 throughout her 5 dives and got a huge 76.80 for her
inwards 3.5 somersaults from the 10m, this was enough to see her take 3rd place in the senior event and 1st place in the junior event, and will take her to Dresden to represent Great Britain in a Junior International event later this Spring.
McArthur however, was unstoppable from the off. Consistent diving aligned with high degrees of difficulties, all from the 10m platform, her final score was a massive 310.80 (which would have given her a 5th place in the mens event) and saw her crowned British National Champion in the senior event. She will now travel to Canada to represent Great Britain in the Senior Grand Prix and achieved the consideration standard for Scotland for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Onto the Mens 10m Platform event, no Tom Daley this year as he focused on mixed synchro, but Rio Olympic Bronze medalist (10m mens synchro) Dan Goodfellow was in action, along with Commonwealth divers Matthew Dixon and Matty Lee so the 4 Southampton men had their work cut out.
An off par Max Cott was clearly not at his best, finishing 13th, with Brandon Foster in 12th and Thomas Bailey in 11th, but young Gammage was having the meet of his young career and qualified for the finals in 7th place keeping his nerve after a sticky 4th round dive. At only 14 years of age he was never going to be a challenge for the top 3 seniors, but he certainly made an impression holding onto his 7th place in the senior event, and in doing so catching the eyes of the selectors who have selected him for the Junior meet in Dresden alongside team mate Emily Martin. A really strong performance from Southampton which bodes well for the future of the club.
The two SDA coaches, Jack Clewlow and Lindsey Fraser said ‘We are delighted with the performances and support of our divers. They have certainly ‘stepped up a gear’ this year and we were very pleased with the number of finalists and medals achieved. A superb silver medal for Cameron, and it is the first time SDA have won both the womens and girls platform titles in a single national Championship, so a fantastic well done to Gemma and Emily.’