IF there was any doubt the finest of margins can separate gold and silver medallists in elite sport, yesterday’s synchronised 3m mixed springboard final confirmed it.
Grace Reid and her diving partner in yesterday’s event, Ross Haslam, missed out on European Championships gold by a mere whisker but nevertheless, they declared themselves happy to pick up a silver medal at Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool.
Britain has established itself as something of a diving powerhouse in recent years, in no small part down to the success of Tom Daley, who Reid has been partnering regularly in this event but is missing from Glasgow 2018 after becoming a parent for the first time earlier this year.
And so while Haslam does not have the profile nor the pedigree of his compatriot Daley, nevertheless the Brits went into this final with considerable expectation upon their shoulders.
That Edinburgh is Reid’s home turf only served to heightened the anticipation and certainly when the ten sets of divers were announced to the crowd, there was little doubt there was few who were not fully behind the Scot and her English partner.
And Reid and Haslam certainly gave the home the fans plenty to cheer with their flawless start, taking the lead with a straightforward but almost perfectly executed back dive. They maintained their place at the top of the leaderboard through round two but it was the Brits’ third dive that proved to be their sticking point.
Attempting a forward two-and-a-half somersault with a twist, Reid entered the water a fraction before Haslam and in the blink of an eye, the German pair of Lou Massenberg and Tina Punzel had snatched the lead. Going into the fifth and final dive, The Brits knew they needed something spectacular if they were to get gold. Their final effort was close to flawless but it wasn’t enough, with the Germans taking the win with 313.50 points ahead of Reid and Haslam on 308.67.
It may have been gold that the home crowd were hoping for but for a pair who have only partnered each other once before, at the Wuhan World Cup in June where they won bronze, silver was an impressive return on their efforts and Reid, who won individual gold at the Commonwealth Games in April, confirmed she was content.
“We’re really happy,” the 22-year-old said.
“That was a tough field. A lot of them are strong competitors at the World Series so to come away with a silver medal, I’m really pleased.
“We didn’t have a perfect competition, although we had a really good one and got a personal best. Obviously though there are things we want to improve. That third dive, maybe the fourth as well, there are still things we want to work on.”
Reid’s partnership with Daley has seen her as the junior diver of the two and she admitted that being the senior one of the pair, as she was here with Haslam and will also be in the women’s 3m synchro when she competes alongside Katherine Torrance on Sunday, is something of a strange feeling.
“It feels weird – it feels like these days, I’m getting the tag of the old one and that I’m supposed to be really experienced and knowledgeable but I’m really not,” she said.
“I’m still learning. Katherine is younger than me and Ross is a little bit younger too so to feel like I can maybe help them in a little way is really encouraging.”
Daley, who Haslam is standing in for, may not have been in Scotland in a competing capacity but he was north of the border with his media hat on. And when Reid and Haslam bumped into their teammate, he was not slow to let the pair know how he hoped they would do in his absence.
“We bumped into Tom a couple of days ago and he said he hoped we did well, but not too well,” she revealed.
“So there’s some healthy rivalry there. Tom is a great friend and a great team-mate but I love doing every second of doing synchro with Ross. It’s a great partnership.”
Reid has not yet finished her week’s work though, with two events still remaining for the Scot. On Saturday, she has her favoured event, the 3m springboard, while the following day will see her team up with Townsend for the women’s 3m synchro competition. The pool has already been a happy hunting ground for the Brits and Reid hopes to add further to that success at the weekend.
“This is such a great start,” she said.
“This feels like a weight off my shoulders to think we’ve got a good result in the bag but I’m by no means finished and I’m excited for Saturday and Sunday.
“I’d like to think I can win more medals. It’s such a tough field though, the European women’s scene, and so it’s just going to be a case of on the day. All I can control is myself so I’m going to go out there, focus on my dives and see where I end up.”
And Reid, who is now based in London, admits it has been a delight to compete in her home city, although she hasn’t had the opportunity to enjoy the city to the full quite yet.
“I can’t describe how much I love this pool” she said of the Edinburgh venue.
“It’s been really good being back. The familiar faces, the Scottish accent, it’s so comforting to have those little things – and obviously the spectators have been fantastic. We haven’t seen anything at the Festival yet. As much as I would like to go and see like 18 shows, I’ve plenty of time for that when I’m done competing. But I’ve got a job to do first.”
Also in Edinburgh yesterday, Lois Toulson finished fifth and Robyn Birch sixth in the 10m platform final.
Source : HeraldScotland