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FINA 2009 World Championships Swimming - Day 3 Morning Session

David Davies took five seconds off the 800m Freestyle British record as the British Gas swimming team secured one final and three semi-final places after strong performances through the heat session. Davies took to heat four alongside Italian Federico Colbertaldo and Robert Hurley (Australia) and was looking to post a quick time to reach the final next day.

The Olympic silver medallist dominated the first half of his race but as the race entered the final 400m Colbertaldo began to close in on the British Gas swimmer. Davies showed his strength in the final 100m as he touched in a time of 7:45.89 to knock five seconds off his own British record time and qualified in fourth place for the final.

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Beijing Olympics 2008 - Diving

Diving events of the 29th Olympiad in Beijing


Beijing 2008 Diving - Daley seventh in Men's 10m Platform Final

Plymouth Diving's Thomas Daley showed his potential in his first individual Olympic final in Beijing, finishing in 7th place in the men’s 10m individual platform event.

With everything set up for a Chinese Grand Slam of the eight gold medals at stake in the Olympic diving competition, the unexpected happened. At the end of the penultimate round, Chinese Luxin Zhou was almost 23 points ahead of Australian Matthew Mitcham. For the last round, Zhou had chosen a dive with 3.4 degree of difficulty (reverse 3 ½ somersault tuck), while Mitcham was supposed to perform a DD 3.8 (back 2 ½ somersault 2 ½ twists, pike). Zhou missed his entry scoring between 6.0/8.0 and the thousands of spectators suddenly sensed that the gold medal was in danger.

Mitcham produced superb dive scoring between 9.0/10, to total 537.95. Zhou finished with 533.15 for silver. Russia’s Gleb Galperin had already completed his final dive and scored a total of 525.80 and was pushed into third place.


Britain’s second youngest Olympian ever, Daley improved on his list throughout the competition and after a shaky beginning to both his prelim and his semi-final, he went into the final looking for a sharper start. The European Champion looked more confident lining up for his first dive, back 2 ½ somersaults 1 ½ twist piked, and executed the dive excellently and after nailing his entry he scored 8s to put himself in a good position.

His new-found confidence continued into the second and third round and after scoring well on both his front 3 ½ somersaults piked and his inward 3 ½ somersaults tucked he sat in 8th position overall.

Beijing 2008 Diving - Men's 10m Platform Preliminary and Semifinal

Plymouth Diving's Tom Daley has qualified for the final of the Men’s 10m Individual Platform event in 8th place.

Preliminary

Peter Waterfield and Tom Daley had pulled out top 12 finishes to qualify for the men’s 10m Individual Platform semi-final. Daley suffered from an unusually shaky start as he dropped his first round dive (back 2 ½ somersaults 1 ½ twists piked) and scored 68 points. The European Champion picked himself up in the second round and 8s across the board to move from 24th to 23rd. Daley showed his strength in the third round to score 9s on his inward 3 ½ somersaults tucked to move up to 13th. Daley finished in 12th overall after finishing with his reverse 3 ½ somersaults tucked and scoring 440.40 in total.

Beijing 2008 Diving - Chen wins Women's 10m Platform Final and Couch makes top 8

15 year old Chen Ruolin rallied on her last dive to earn four 10s and beat Canada's Emilie Heymans to the gold medal with 447.70 points in the women's 10m platform, an event China has not won since 1996. Her victory gives China seven out of seven golds with only one diving event remaining at the Beijing Olympics.

Heymans had led by 7.15 points going into Chen's last dive, taking silver with 437.05. Chen's 16-year-old teammate, Wang Xin took the bronze at 429.50. "Chen Ruolin has a better entry than me and she performed just as we expected," said Wang, the current platform world champion. "Emilie did better than her normal level. The distance between me and them is my control over my splash."

Chen stayed focussed, despite the partisan home support in the Water Cube, to earn four 10s and three 9.5s for her backward 2 1/2 somersault with 1 1/2 twists from the pike position - rated 3.4 degree of difficulty. Overall, Chen received seven 10s during the five-round final.

The first two British divers to qualify for an Olympic final, Tonia Couch and Stacie Powell, showed enormous promise. Couch, who has performed consistently throughout the competition, began excellently again. Any nerves she may have been feeling were put to one side as she started with her inward 2 ½ Somersaults piked and scored 8s to put her in 10th. Couch gained confidence through the rounds to continue to score highly and as she entered the final round she found herself lying in fifth place overall.

Beijing 2008 Diving - Women's 10m Platform Semifinal

World No. 1 Chen Ruolin of China dominated the semifinal of the Women's 10m Platform with a total of 444.60, She wrapped up the morning competition with a perfect somersault-twist combination dive that scored 96.90 points, the highest of the semifinal session. Chen finished more than 40 points ahead of Mexico's flag-bearer Paola Espinosa who had dropped all her 3m Springboard events to concentrate on this event. Espinosa won gold in two legs of the 2008 World Series (Sheffield and Tijuana), and her strong semifinal finish shows she may be in position to upset China in Beijing.

Chen's partner in the Synchronized Diving event, Wang Xin, enters the final in third place with 388.55 points. Canadian diver Emilie Heymans, silver medalist in Sydney, came in fourth with 374.10 points.

Both Tonia Couch and Stacie Powell have qualified for the Olympic final in their first Olympic Games. Powell had a shaky start once again but recovered quickly to make up the distance to the rest of the pack. She executed her final three dives to a much higher standard than in the preliminaries to score over 60 points on each.

Couch again showed her consistency throughout the rounds scoring nothing less than 58.00 on her first four dives but after dropping her final dive waiting to see if she made it through to this afternoon’s final proved to be tense. Couch lay in 10th position after the fourth round with her final spot looking certain but after finishing short of vertical on her reverse 2 ½ somersaults tucked she dropped marks and lay in 9th place with four divers left to compete.

Powell showed her form in the final round as she moved up from 15th to 13th place going into the final round. Her final dive was the back 2 ½ somersaults 1 ½ twists piked and she performed it excellently to score well and find herself in 11th place overall with a total score of 301.75.

Couch secured the final qualification place with a score of 297.20. The Brits are the first two British athletes to qualify for an individual final at these Olympic Games.

Beijing 2008 Diving - Women's 10m Platform Preliminary

British divers Tonia Couch (Plymouth) and Stacie Powell have qualified for tomorrow’s semi-final after finishing in 12th and 14th respectively in the women’s 10m Individual Platform event. With the top 18 divers going through the semi-final both athletes knew they had to remain focused throughout in order to seal their qualification.


Couch performed consistently throughout scoring 7s and 8s for each dive. It was only in the fourth round that she seemed slightly shaky. Going into the fourth round Couch stood in 7th position but after missing her entry on her armstand back double somersault 1 ½ twists in free position she dropped marks and dropped down the board. The final round saw Couch finish well to secure 12th place with a score of 320.40.

Commenting on the competition Couch said: “I am really happy with myself and that top 12 finish. If I can manage the same again tomorrow I will make it into the final. I was diving with an injured thumb, I bent it back last year and three days ago it flared up again. But I knew I had to dive through the pain. It is great that we are both through to the final. This performance has really boosted my confidence and I think I can use that to my benefit tomorrow.”

Powell suffered from a nervous start as she missed her first round dive to score 4s and 5s but showed her strength to take to the boards for her second round and score 7s and 8s. Powell capitalised on other divers missed attempts to move from 28 place up to 14th place overall. She competed the competition with a total of 313.90 and goes into the semi-final looking to put today’s performance behind her.

"I did not have a great start to that prelim but I kept my head and clawed my way back through the rounds to show my mental toughness," Powell said. "Diving last is not great but after a shaky start I got back in control and earned myself another session tomorrow. For us both to make the final is fantastic and it will only take a few points to take the next step and reach the final."

Beijing 2008 Diving - Men's 3m Springboard Final: He gets gold

China claimed the first six diving golds at Beijing Olympic Games as 21 year old world number one, He Chong, led throughout the men's 3m springboard to collect 572.90 points and gold

Canad's Alexandre Despatie, silver medallist in 2004 Athens Olympics and 2007 Melbourne Worlds, took the silver again in 536.65, while the bronze went to Qin Kai in 530.10. Despatie has had a difficult year. He fractured his fifth metatarsal of the right foot during a training session in April 2008 and this hampered his training schedule in the run up to Beijing.

Russian "diving czar" Dmitry Sautin, who just claimed a silver in the synchro springboard, finished fourth in 512.65.

Beijing 2008 Diving - Men's 3m Springboard Preliminary

Chinese world champion and current world No.1 He Chong trailed teammate Qin Kai, winner of the 2007 Melbourne World Championships, in the first four dives of the men’s 3m Springboard Individual, but quickly took over in the fifth for which he scored 91.80 points. The Chinese top favorite, famed for commanding a set of difficult dives, posted the top qualifying score of 515.50 points.

"I showed my normal level today," said He after the preliminary. "I will have a good rest tonight, and show my best tomorrow."

Qin, winner in the synchro event, qualfied second on 502.95, with Yahel Castillo of Mexico, bronze winner of the 2008 World Cup, climbing to third after his fifth dive, a difficult reverse two-and-a-half somersaults and one-and-a-half twists, produced 94.5 points.

Current world No. 2, the 21-year-old Castillo is the only diver who can perform 5355B, a reverse two-and-a-half somersaults and two-and-a-half twists in pike position, with a 3.4 degree of difficulty. Five-time Olympian Russian Dmitry Sautin and Alexandre Despatie of Canada, also reserved their places in the semifinals.

Britain’s Ben Swain started the preliminary well with impressive scores on his first round dive but found it hard to keep up with the quality field. Swain had started the competition as the first diver and executed his first two dives well to score 7s and 8s and found himself in 26th place.

The third round saw Swain drop his reverse 2 ½ Somersaults piked to lose marks and find himself lose ground on the lead pack. He scored a total of 51.00 to drop down to 27th.

Beijing 2008 Diving - Women's 3m Springboard Final

The overwhelming favorite and oldest member in the Chinese squad at 26, Guo Jingjing, seized the lead with her first dive for which she achieved 81 points. Her total of 415.35 comfortably outscored Russian veteran Julia Pakhalina who took silver with 398.60 and forced Chinese number two Wu Minxia to settle for bronze on 389.85.

The diving powerhouse of China eyes a clean sweep of eight diving titles in front of home fans.

Beijing 2008 Diving - Women’s 3m Springboard Prelims

The Prelims of the women’s 3m Springboard saw reigning Olympic champion Guo Jingjing not take the lead until the last round, having fallen to 13th place after the third round. Guo's biggest threat was 31 year old Julia Pakhalina of Russia, winner of the 3m springboard synchro in 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, who finished second on Friday.

The Russian was in the lead after the fourth round but made a splash upon the entry in the fifth and final round and was overtaken by Guo.


Britain’s Rebecca Gallantree put in a brave performance but finish in a disappointing 25th position and miss out on the semi-final.

Gallantree, who is competing at her first Olympic Games, started promisingly with her first two dives (inward 2 ½ Somersaults piked and forward 3 ½ Somersaults piked) and scored good marks. She scored 48.00 on her first round and 54.25 on the second round.

Beijing 2008 Diving - Feng Wang and Kai Qin win 3m Synchronised Springboard

Nicholas Robinson-Baker and Ben Swain showed their potential in a world class field in the 3m Synchronised Springboard final and the event proved to be the closest diving final so far of the Olympic Games.

The young British pair, who have only been diving together for just over a year, took to the boards in their first Olympic final looking calm and performed their first required dive well and as the partnership that opened up the final they showed their intent to the rest of the field.

As the divers moved on to perform their optional dives there was only 13 points separating the divers. The Brits’ first optional dive was the front 3 ½ Somersaults piked and their synchronisation was excellent but Robinson-Baker ran out of time and his entry was short and they dropped marks. But after the German and Ukrainian pairs also missed their dives the Brits were still within the mix for medals.