Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hat-Trick of Medals for Heatly in Baku

“I didn’t think I was going to win anything. I’m over the moon to win three medals, especially as I didn’t expect it.” James Heatly, European Games medalist

Over the last 12 months, Edinburgh Diving Club’s James Heatly has slowly but surely been establishing himself as one of ‘Ones to Watch’ amongst the UK’s junior divers. This was reinforced with selection to Team GB at the European Games, currently taking place in Baku.

Heatly was entered into the 1m, 3m springboard and 3m synchro events and has walked away with medals from each event.

On Thursday Heatly secured the first aquatic medal for GB with bronze in the 1m springboard. The 18 year old qualified for the final in fourth place after a consistent programme, and he opened up his final with a confident Reverse 1½ Somersault 1½ Twists in Free position.

The World Series bronze medallist had a dip in marks in the second round before fighting his way back up the leader board.

Heatly secured bronze and Team GB's first aquatics medal with a score of 483.40 points. He said,

"I'm really happy, I'm quite surprised because my second dive wasn't so good and I dropped that so just the fact that I could pick myself back up is something I'm very happy with.

"I wasn't expecting a medal, I knew my PB would be top five so I knew it was a possibility but I didn't really think I could do it.”

On Friday Heatly teamed up with Sheffield Diving’s Ross Haslam and secured silver in the 3m Synchro event.

Their best dive was the Front 3 1/2 Somersaults piked which scored 71.61 points.

"For us we wanted to go out there and get all of our dives and it wasn't that way today but we have still come out of it with a silver medal so you can't be disappointed," Haslam said.

"Since the British Championships we won gold at the Seven Nations in Sweden and posted a PB there so since then we have been training.”

Heatly added: "We just wanted to go out there and put in a good performance and see where that would put us because our PB is not far off what the Russians got today so if we could have matched that then who knows.

"But we still got a silver medal and everyone else did well so to still come out on top of them is really good.”

With two medals from two events, Heatly was asked about a possible hat-trick, to which he responded,

"Who knows if I can get a third medal, we will see what happens but fingers crossed."

The third medal did come, and this time Heatly saved the best until last, coming away with Gold.

Heatly performed maturely throughout the final and started with an impressive 70.50 for his Inward 2 1/2 Somersaults piked. He kept his composure throughout the next two dives and scored 73.50 for his Front 2 1/2 Somersaults 2 Twists piked to move into the lead.

Heatly finished the final with Back 2 1/2 Somersaults piked and scored a total of 541.65.

Heatly said: “At the beginning of the event I didn’t think I would do it. But when he (Ilia Molchanov) dropped that dive (fourth dive) I thought there was a chance.

“I didn’t think I was going to win anything. I’m over the moon to win three medals, especially as I didn’t expect it.”

Heatly is coached by Jenny Leeming at Edinburgh Diving Club.


Thanks to British Swimming & Team GB for content