Kolesnichenko wins fourth title for Russia
GLASGOW, Aug 7, (RTRS): Britain’s divers enjoyed a triumphant day at the European Championships on Tuesday with Olympic champion Jack Laugher leading a double success at Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool.
Laugher again demonstrated why he is the most successful British diver in history as he took their first European gold in the one metre springboard event while never having to produce anything like his best.
His predictable win followed a rather less expected victory for the new British pairing of Lois Toulson and 15-year-old Eden Cheng, who took the synchronized 10m platform title in dramatic fashion.
In only their second competition together, the pair had been lying fifth with two rounds left only to produce two magnificent dives to shoot into the gold medal position as their opponents faltered.
Another 15-year-old, Ekaterina Beliaeva and Yulia Timoshinina of Russia had been in pole position but made a hash of their final effort and ended with silver on 288.60 points to the Britons’ 289.74.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting this, we’ve only been put together this year so we’re both really happy,” said Toulson, a relative veteran at 18 compared to Cheng, who was striking gold at the equivalent junior event this time last year.
“I’m lost for words. Lois kept me going out there,” said Cheng. “I was nervous throughout before and didn’t even know the score until Lois told me we’d won.”
The 23-year-old Laugher, who in 2016 became Britain’s first Olympic diving champion along with his 3m springboard synchro partner Chris Mears in Rio de Janeiro, dominated his competition without having to extend himself.
“With two more events to go for me, it’s a really good way to kick off the Championships,” Laugher said. “It wasn’t my best performance, not as good as I was in the Commonwealth Games, but I’m really happy to come out on top again.”
His total of 414.60 still put him well clear of Italy’s Giovanni Tocci (401.10) and British team mate James Heatly (391.70), whose bronze was particularly well received by the Edinburgh crowd as he also won a medal for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year. Kolesnichenko, the new dominant force of synchronized swimming, completed her immaculate and innovative five-day programme at the European Championships on Tuesday by doubling her gold medal tally to four. As Russia rounded off another masterful championships with three golds, the 24-year-old Kolesnichenko repeated her quadruple haul from last year’s world championships in Budapest by taking the solo free and duet free titles. She added them to the pair of technical golds she had already claimed at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.
For the second time, she teamed up for a golden duet with the outstanding 17-year-old Varvara Subbotina, adding the free title to the technical gold they had annexed on the opening day of the programme.
Their total of 96.7000, which relegated Ukraine’s Anastasiya Savchuk and Yelyzaveta Yakhno (93.4000) to silver and Italians Linda Cerruti and Costanza Ferro (92.1333) to bronze, was even superior to the mark they had been awarded in their technical routine.
After a three-hour break, Kolesnichenko returned to her solo speciality, again comfortably defeating Cerruti, who took silver, and bronze winner Yakhno.
“I’m going to sleep now and I’m sleeping for a week,” Kolesnichenko smiled. “I am happy but I am also so tired that maybe I will be happier in a week.” The work ethic, she insisted, was what kept Russian synchro so far ahead of the field. “We work for 10 or 12 years to get to the top, to be the best and to get higher. Everyone says, ‘oh Russia, they are so good at synchronized swimming’ but it is hard to be first all the time. “It is work and more work. We need more than 24 hours in the day to do it.”
To underline their dominance – the only one of the nine golds on offer that Russia did not win was one in which they decided not to enter – Aleksandr Maltsev and Mayya Gurbanberdieva added the mixed duet free title ahead of Italy and Spain.