The City of Leeds diving stars began the year in fine style with an impressive showing at the British Gas Diving Championships at the weekend.
Team GB Olympians Jack Laugher, Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree all claimed gold medals at the first national event of the season in Plymouth, while youngsters Lois Toulson, Lydia Rosenthall and Matty Lee all put in fine performances to mark themselves down as rising stars of the future.
Picking up from where he left off at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Adelaide in October when he claimed two titles, 18-year-old Jack Laugher from Harrogate won the men’s 3-metre individual and came second in the 1m event.
With City of Leeds clubmate Hannah Starling unable to compete in Plymouth due to a minor injury, 16-year-old Alicia Blagg from Woodlesford took centre stage, adding to her world junior silver medal in Australia with victory in the women’s 1m individual event.
Alicia also teamed up with fellow City of Leeds diver Rebecca Gallantree in the women’s 3m synchronised event to make it a winning double, while the pair finished second and third respectively in the women’s 3m individual.
Becky Gallantree again showed her consistency by partnering 22-year-old clubmate Jenny Cowen to second place in the women’s 10m synchro, while 17-year-old Chapel Allerton diver Yona Knight-Wisdom representing Jamaica won gold with City of Leeds’ Matthew Roberts in the men’s 3m synchro event.
With all eyes on Team GB superstar Tom Daley who secured victory in the men’s 10m individual, 19-year-old James Denny from Leeds impressed in finishing second to claim silver.
The Plymouth event was also notable for the emergence of some of the next generation of City of Leeds divers at national level.
In her first senior national competition, 13-year-old Lois Toulson put in a great showing to progress through the preliminaries and qualify for the finals of all three events she entered.
A year older at 14, both Lydia Rosenthall from Garforth (fourth and fifth-place finishes) and Matty Lee from Moortown (8th in men’s 1m preliminary) also performed well despite their inexperience at senior level.
The next competitive outings for Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling (women’s 3m synchro) and Becky Gallantree and Jenny Cowen (women’s 10m synchro) will be in the elite FINA Diving World Series events in China and Dubai next month.
All of the City of Leeds divers train at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds as part of Leeds City Council’s diving training scheme, which is headed by senior diving coach Adrian Hinchliffe and former world champion Edwin Jongejans.
Senior diving coach Adrian Hinchliffe said:
“It was another good performance by the team at the nationals, with Jack, Alicia and Blagg all diving well and for Jack and Alicia you can see how much more confident they are after the experiences of the Olympic Games and the junior world championships.
“Lois also stood out by reaching all of her finals in her first competition at senior national level which is a fantastic achievement and we look to seeing her and all the other City of Leeds divers continuing to develop and enjoy another very successful year.”
Notes to editors:
Leeds City Council’s diving training scheme is managed by Adrian Hinchliffe and has been running since 1986. The scheme provides opportunities in the sport of diving for all ages and from recreational to elite level. In total there are over 300 people taking part in the scheme on a daily and weekly basis, making it one of the biggest diving programmes in Britain.
For further information about the scheme contact Adrian Hinchliffe at Adrian.firstname.lastname@example.org, Edwin Jongejans at Edwin.email@example.com or call 0113 395 7363.
Leeds-born Team GB divers Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling are official ambassadors for child friendly Leeds, the ambition to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to thrive and look forward to a brighter future. For more information go to www.leeds.gov.uk/childfriendlyleeds
For media enquiries please contact:
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472