JACK Laugher believes things are finally clicking into place at the very highest level after he became the first British man to break the 500-point barrier in the 3m springboard at the London Diving World Series.
Having impressed in the semi-finals at the third leg of the 2014 World Series at the London Aquatics Centre, the 19-year-old was again on form in the final as he posted an impressive overall score of 517.60.
It saw him miss out on bronze by just under six points from Russia’s Evgeny Kuznetsov while China’s Chong He took gold but, after bettering his previous personal best of 487 points, Laugher was only looking forward.
“That was a massive 30-point personal best, I’ve been trying a year and a half to get over 500,” said Laugher, who also finished fourth in the 3m synchro event with partner Chris Mears on Friday.
“I had a couple of mistakes in there, but I went over 100 for the first time on a single dive too so that is another personal best for myself.
“To come fourth is a bit sour but those guys put out a massive performance. Everything is kicking off and being serious now and it’s a really good feeling to be playing with the big boys.”
Laugher’s final score was even more impressive considering he dropped his third dive – an inward three-and-a-half somersault with tuck – and received the lowest score for an individual effort of all the finalists on the night.
But he bounced back – his overall score would have seen him win silver at the past two World Championships – and Laugher is already eyeing up going one step further at next weekend’s fourth leg in Moscow.
“It is difficult when you drop a dive but with the World Series, because of the quick turnaround, you’ve just to take every dive by dive,” he added. “You’ve got to bin everything, even if you go 100, you have to bin it and get onto the next dive.
“I’ve never won a World Series medal so it would be incredible if I could do that next week. But the Russians who beat me here will be on their home turf so it will be a little bit difficult but I will go there confident certainly.”
Meanwhile fellow City of Leeds divers Rebecca Gallantree and Hannah Starling also returned to the Olympic boards in London for the women’s 3m springboard event following their 3m synchro bronze the previous night.
Both missed out on a place in the final with Gallantree finishing fifth in her semi-final while Starling fell one place short in fourth – although the 18-year-old was quick to toast a successful World Series outing in London.
“This was the first international of the season for me so I’m happy,” she said. “It was a quick turnaround having got back quite late from our medal and having to calm your excitement.”
Meanwhile Gallantree insists her pursuit of selection on multiple fronts for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is on track after her London outing.
She said: “I’m doing the individual at British Championships later this year and I’m hoping to qualify for the World Cup and Commonwealths.”
Tom Daley, meanwhile, could not recreate his Olympic heroics as he failed to medal in the men’s 10m platform final at the London Aquatics Centre. The 19-year-old’s total score of 525.45 was only good enough for fifth.
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