Jack Laugher and Chris Mears impressed with a strong performance in the 3m Synchro to win their first title of the year at the LEN European Aquatics Championships.
In the first final of the evening, Tonia Couch and Georgia Ward also had the home crowd on their feet as they won silver and bronze respectively.
The world bronze medallists, Laugher and Mears, took the lead after their second required dive, a reverse dive piked to open the optional rounds with a score of 105 points.
The loudest cheer of the evening was when Laugher and Mears secured 94.77 points for their new dive – the Front 2 ½ Somersaults 3 Twists piked.
They won the gold medal with a score of 456.81.
Mears said: “We knew off the back of the World Series what we needed to work on and I think we done that really well. We’ve not had that much preparation coming into this but it’s great to just win. We’re really really happy to win.”
Laugher added: “This is massive for us, it’s been a great. It’s the first time we’ve pulled off our triple out, the fifth dive where we scored over 94 which was sensational.
“It’s been a long time coming this; our synchro has been on form. It took a little while to get going this year but we’re definitely there now. The silver yesterday gave me the hunger and the fire I needed to come out today and get that gold. And to do it with my best mate is incredible.
“There’s still a long way to until the Olympics; first we’ve got the National Championships in June, the Rio qualifying event and then back into heavy training.”
Laugher and Mears were joined on the podium by Russia’s Ilia Zakharov and Evgenii Kuznetsov in silver (445.23) and Ukraine’s illya Kvasha or Oleksandr Gorshkovozov in Bronze (439.86).
The Women’s 10m Final saw Britain dominate the podium and collect two medals in one event for the first time at European level with Couch winning silver and Ward taking bronze.
Both Brits brought out their best dives in the second round as Couchscored straight nines on her Armstand Back 2 Somersaults 1 ½ Twists in free position. Ward’s new dive, Back 3 ½ Somersaults tucked, increased her score to 144.85 and she was the first diver to pass the 80 points threshold putting her right in the mix for medals.
Couch won her first European level medal with a score of 352.70 points.
Couch said: “Europeans aren’t normally on my side to be honest so I had to focus on myself and not concentrate on what anyone else was doing. I did okay; I scored pretty high today. It’s not my best but I’m still really pleased.
“My first dive was awful, in fact, so I had to sit down, listen to some music and tell myself off really. But then I did an armstand for straight nines which I’ve never done before so I was really pleased and that put me back in the running to fight for that medal.
“The game isn’t over until the fat lady sings. I dropped two dives today but I was still up there in the running so I just had to focus on what I can normally do and show myself that I am a competitor.”
Ward rose to the occasion in her home pool to deliver a strong set of dives and closed her final with a bronze medal after scoring 325.05 points.
“I never used to look at the scoreboard during the rounds but going into this competition,” Ward said. “I thought I needed to try and get used to it. You hear the scores anyway so I tried to look at my dives, not so much where I was placed but how I was doing in my dives.
“Me and Matty won silver last year at the World Series which was crazy but gave me a lot of confidence for this season.
“This year has been incredible, learning my new dive and competing it here so I’m happy.”
Couch and Ward were joined on the podium by Ukraine’s Iuliia Prokopchuk, she scored 385.90 to take the European Aquatics Championship title and gold medal.
This continues to be the British Diving teams most successful ever LEN European Aquatics Championships, with two gold, three silver and two bronze medals. The action continues tomorrow with the Women’s 3m and Mixed 10m Synchro events.
Tickets for the LEN European Aquatics Championships are still available both on the door and via http://www.theticketfactory.com/euroaquatics/online – come and support the British team in London.
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