Friday, February 11, 2022

Scots on form on opening day of National Diving Cup

It was a fantastic Friday for Scottish divers, with Grace Reid, James Heatly, Gemma McArthur and Angus Menmuir all winning gold on the opening day of the National Diving Cup, which is taking place at the Plymouth Life Centre this weekend.

The opening title was claimed by Reid (Dive London Aquatics), who made improvements across her entire series of dives from prelims to final of the 1m springboard.  Reid opened her programme strongly with a well-executed Back 1½ Somersaults, Pike, and continued to build dive after dive, sealing her victory with a solid Forward 2 ½ Somersaults Pike, taking her final score to 274.15, a score which exceeds the qualifying standard for the event at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games this summer.

Reid’s synchro partner, Kat Torrance (City of Leeds), took second with a score of 269.60 and Scarlett Mew Jensen (Dive London) won bronze with 264.10 points.

For winner Reid, it was a fine way to begin a busy meet – and she was highly encouraged by the clutch nature of her final dive. She said of her performance,

“I’m really pleased. I haven't trained a lot of 1m recently, but I just tried to relax and enjoy the event, and it's the first time in a long time I've actually enjoyed my diving.

“Hitting the Commonwealth Games 1m qualifying mark is always great, it's a bit of a bonus. It's just about being consistent - and to put in a last dive like that, I'm super pleased to know I can step up and deliver under the pressure. It's been a while since I've done that.

"I'm straight on to 3m synchro tomorrow and then the individual 3m on Sunday, so it's a really busy weekend. But that's really nice to have more events, to get the ball rolling now and to get back to competing."

In the men’s event, James Heatly showed that his impressive form of 2021 is not going anywhere in 2022, as the Edinburgh Diving Club man delivered an outstanding display to take the gold in a new personal best from the lowest board.

Trailing Jordan Houlden by 0.85 points after one dive, Heatly did not look back from the moment he took the lead, surging to the front and staying there, barely putting a foot wrong across his six dives and finishing with an eye-catching 422.00 points to his name – thanks in part to the brilliant execution of his toughest dive, an Inward 2 ½ Somersaults Pike (405B) that scored 78.20.

Houlden (City of Sheffield) was second while platform specialist Matthew Dixon (Dive London) won bronze.

Speaking about his 1m Springboard victory, Heatly, who is coached by Jen Leeming in Edinburgh, said of his performance,

“I'm actually quite ecstatic with today. There's no such thing as a perfect prep, and I certainly haven't had the nicest run-in to this event - so to come out with two over 400s in the 1m, and then a PB in the final, I'm ecstatic - and then the synchro was just another steady competition, so I'm really happy. 

“It's very special to see that I've got the highest DD (degree of difficulty dive) and all my hard work is paying off. For it all to come together was great - and I know that there's still a bit of room for improvement in there, which is quite exciting, so I don't think 422 is where I'll stop.

“The 3m is the most important competition for me at the moment, but it's very exciting having a busy season with more events than just the 3m, which has been my focus last two seasons ahead of the Olympics. It's a great setup, not only for building up to the 3m, it's good to have more events in a weekend and getting back that competition endurance.”

Heatly's Edinburgh team-mate, Danny Mabbott finished 7th in the final with 311.10 points.

Heatly didn’t have long to take in his victory before taking part in the Men’s 3m Synchro event with Edinburgh Diving team-mate Ross Beattie. The pair finished strongly for second place behind Jack Laugher and Anthony Harding (City of Leeds). Leon Baker (Southampton Diving Academy) and Hugo Thomas (Dive London), placed third.

In the 10m mixed synchro event, Gemma McArthur and Angus Menmuir of Edinburgh Diving Club won gold with 260.70 points.

Results can be found on Dive Recorder.

The British National Diving Cup 2022 is being streamed live across the British Swimming YouTube and Facebook channels.