A sixteen strong team of divers left the UK for Rijeka in Croatia to compete in the Junior European Diving Championships earlier this month. The week long competition concluded on Friday with the three representatives from Plymouth Diving show casing their talent amid 300 plus divers from across the continent.
Ollie Heath delivered the first medal for GB in his opening event on 1m in group B. Against a stunning back drop of the Adriatic Sea his outdoor performance could not have gone better. Finishing the preliminary round in fourth position he remained calm and collected in the final. With all three medallists opting to perform the same final dive, a forward 1 ½ somersaults with 2 twists in the free position, it was Ollie who outperformed the others to take the lead and land the gold medal.
Amelie Underwood comfortably fought against twenty-two other divers to make the final in third position on 3m. Going into the final Amelie had some points to claw back from her required dives which get carried over. Against competitors of this calibre it left Amelie little space to do this but she put in an excellent performance to finish fifth overall with only 6.4 points from a medal. In the 1m event Amelie was once again in contention with twenty-two other divers to make the final in fifth position. With a higher required score from her preliminary dives, Amelie was right in the running. She just missed out on the bronze medal in fourth place by 4.9 points. Amelie was the only group B girl to represent GB in both events and she did this with determination and style.
Having recently formed a new synchro partnership Euan McCabe and Leon Baker from Southampton Diving Academy were ready to put their training into action. The boys 3m synchro event was thrilling and a display of competition at its best. With all three medal pairings going into the event with the same tariff it was always going to be exciting and literally the last dive decided the podium positions. With Ukraine in gold, Italy in silver the GB pair took the bronze medal with a mere 0.96 points between the bronze and gold position. The individual group A 3m event for Euan started with an incredible display of ability in the preliminary round, scoring 535.8 points to finish in second position. In the final, one moments lack of judgement proved fatal when attempting a reverse 3 ½ somersaults. It was judged as a failed dive and sadly cost Euan any hope of a medal.
Ollie ended day six on the 3m board. Coming through the preliminary round with what appeared to be relative ease he knew that the final would not be so simple. Having to follow an impressive last dive by the Ukrainian did not intimidate Ollie in the least. He continued to execute a superb last dive to stand on the podium in silver position.
All three Plymouth divers are coached by Sally Freeman and it is a testament to her coaching ability that all of her divers were able to achieve every final. Ongoing training is supported by Pilkington Estates, the Plymouth Active Leisure Diving Programme coupled with the superb facilities on offer at the Plymouth Life Centre for which Plymouth Diving would like to express their gratitude.