DWS 2011 - Sheffield, Day 1: Daley and Waterfield conquer world’s best for gold
Thomas Daley and Peter Waterfield had a sell out Sheffield crowd on their feet as they stormed to 10m Synchro gold in the FINA/Midea Diving World Series. In only their second international competition together, the British duo held off five of the world’s top pairs to claim victory with 449.43 points. Daley and Waterfield performed steady required dives and lay in fourth place after the first two rounds. As the competition entered the optional dives, the harder phase of the competition, the pair held their nerve to perform consistently.Their Front 4 ½ Somersaults tucked dive is the hardest dive in their list and scored 8s and 9s to move into the lead ahead of the China’s World Cup champions Yuan Cao and Yanquang Zhang with one round to go. The Brits scored 92.88 on their final dive, the Back 2 ½ Somersaults 2 ½ Twists piked, to hold onto their lead and when the Chinese pair dropped their final dive Daley and Waterfield cheered their win.
“We are so happy to have won that gold in only our second international competition,” Daley said. “It is great to see that our partnership is improving every time we compete. Our hardest dive the Front 4 ½ was one of the best that we have done. We are lucky we have natural timing but we missed our first two optional dives and we want to improve that a lot.”
“We are going to Mexico and the World Championships next,” Waterfield said. “It is a new partnership but we seem to be working well together. The 4 ½ is our newest dive but it saved us today so we are both glad that we are using.”
Cao and Zhang ultimately won silver with 443.82 and bronze went to Sascha Klein and Patrick Hausding (Germany) with a total of 427.59.
China’s Qin Kai struck gold to continue his domination of this season’s men’s 3m Springboard event. Defending World Series Champion Kai – who won both previous legs in Moscow and Beijing this term – took over the lead at the half way point and never looked back on the way to scoring 547.70. Kai’s fifth dive was the highlight of the set as he scored 106.40 for Front 4 ½ Somersaults tucked. China’s Olympic and World Champion He Chong finished second with 531.15 while USA’s Troy Dumais took bronze with 507.65.
“I am happy to win the gold,” Kai said. “I have now had many chances to practice my Front 4 ½ dive and it is becoming more stable. I learnt the dive a year ago and a few months ago I was still having some problems with it but it is getting much better now.”
Great Britain’s double world junior champion Jack Laugher impressed to score an international pb of 436.90. And while his score would have been good enough to progress from the first semi-final, he missed out on qualification from his semi by an agonising 14 points.
Peter Waterfield (GBR) and Thomas Daley (GBR) - credit: British Swimming
Zi He and Minxia Wu dominated the women’s 3m Synchro with a performance that saw them score consistently throughout the five rounds. After the required dives the Chinese pair had a total of 107.40 points and their highest scoring dive came in the fourth round. The pair, that also won the gold in the Beijing leg of the event, executed their Reverse 2 ½ Somersaults piked scored a total of 80.10 points as they moved twenty points into the lead. He and Wu finished with a total of 334.20 points to win their gold. Canada’s Jennifer Abel and Emilie Heymans won the silver with a score of 315.00 while Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape (Italy) took bronze with 303.60 points.
Rebecca Gallantree and Alicia Blagg were competing in their first leg of the series together and secured fifth place with a score of 294.00.
“That performance felt really good,” Gallantree said. “It was the first time we performed that list internationally, after adding a more difficult dive, and we’re both really pleased with the score.
“That’s our best result since the Commonwealth Games and shows, at an early stage in the season, how far we’ve come as a pair. Diving here in Sheffield is an amazing experience in front of a sell out crowd and they kept us focused throughout.”
Blagg added: “The home crowd was amazing and just fed my adrenalin. I was very nervous before but didn’t let them get the better of me and affect my performance. There were a lot of positives to take from that performance.”
China’s World Cup champion Hu Yadan struck gold in the last event of the night – the women’s 10m Platform. The final was a straight shoot-out between Hu and Olympic champion Chen Ruolin with both divers adopting the same list. But Hu stormed to victory over her more experienced rival, outscoring Chen on all five dives to win with 442.00 with her teammate finishing on 408.60. Mexico’s world champion Paola Espinosa picked up bronze with her score of 356.10. Great Britain’s Jenny Cowen held off the nerves on her World Series debut to score 297.50 for seventh place overall.