Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Leeds fab five to take the plunge in London 2012 Olympic pool



Caption: City of Leeds diver Jack Laugher will be competing in the Olympic pool in London next week (both images courtesy of City of Leeds Diving Club)

Five City of Leeds divers will get to sample the Olympic facilities in London next week as they take part in the FINA VISA World Diving Cup.

City of Leeds stars Jack Laugher, Rebecca Gallantree, Sarah Barrow, Hannah Starling and Alicia Blagg will all be competing in the event from February 20-26 which also doubles as the test for the diving facilities at the Aquatics Centre ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The quintet will be taking on the world’s best in the event which also determines Olympic spots for countries in each of the diving categories, with the full Team Great Britain squad taking part in the Games due to be announced in June.

Harrogate diver Jack Laugher will be looking to carry on his form from a stellar 2011 which saw the 17-year-old become the first British male diver in eight years to qualify for the final of the men’s 3-metre springboard event at the world championships, finishing in a highly creditable eighth place.

Jack goes into the event in confident mood after winning both the 1m and 3m individual titles at the recent British Gas National Diving Cup in Southend. Olympian Rebecca Gallantree will be looking to secure a place at her second successive Games when competing in the women’s 3m individual and synchronised events, and tuned up by winning two golds and a silver in Southend.

Sarah Barrow will be competing with 10m synchro partner Tonia Couch of Plymouth the in the London event looking to improve on their fourth-place finish in last year’s world championships in Shanghai. The duo combined to win gold in the National Diving Cup in Southend.

The two youngest City of Leeds divers taking part in London will be 15-year-old Alicia Blagg from Woodlesford (3m synchro) and 16-year-old Hannah Starling from Alwoodley (3m individual).

The City of Leeds squad again dominated at national level in Southend, winning seven of the nine events and a medal haul of 15 in total. Other notable performances came from Callum Johnstone and Matt Roberts who won the men’s 3m synchro title, while Garforth diver Callum also claimed bronze in the 3m individual.

The City of Leeds divers are all part of Leeds City Council’s Diving Training Scheme overseen by senior diving coach Adrian Hinchliffe and former world champion Edwin Jongejans at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport.

Senior diving coach Adrian Hinchliffe said:

“Next week will be an invaluable experience for our divers to compete, feel and see what the Olympic facility is going to be like in the summer. They are all really excited and rightly so.

“It is hugely important too for their development as well as trying to secure as many places for Great Britain at London 2012 as we can. We are very proud of them all but what they do in the next few months could make all the difference and they know that. The final countdown to the Olympics really does start here.”

Also competing at the FINA VISA World Diving Cup will be divers from Australia, Russia and the USA who will train at the John Charles Centre for Sport ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

For more information on Leeds and its work towards the London 2012 Olympic Games, visit www.leedsgold.co.uk

Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council’s Leeds 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.hinchliffe@leeds.gov.uk, Edwin Jongejans at Edwin.jongejans@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 395 7363.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, senior communications officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk