Rebecca Gallantree admitted securing Diving World Series bronze alongside replacement 3m synchro partner Hannah Starling goes down as a welcome surprise after just one week of training together.
Gallantree normally competes with Alicia Blagg but with her regular partner still finding full fitness following a broken wrist, fellow City of Leeds diver Starling stepped in for the third leg of the World Series at the London Aquatics Centre.
The pair last competed together in the National Cup in 2012 and were making their international debut but showed little sign of nerves to put in an impressive performance and score 302.88 for third.
Chinese world champions Wu Minxia and Shi Tingmao continued their own fine partnership with gold and Gallantree couldn’t quite believe that she and Starling joined them on the podium.
“We just went in with a target to dive well because that’s always the case and just to enjoy it and see what we could get out of it. And then to get a medal was brilliant,” she said.
“We had a week together training so it was really good to get such a good result with such little training together. To be competing here in London at the Olympic pool and to win a medal here is absolutely fantastic.
“To get over that 300 barrier was really great, both of our families were here supporting us so that’s really special.”
Elsewhere there was further success for Leeds’s male divers with Matthew Lee scoring a personal best score of 403.86 alongside 10m synchro partner Daniel Goodfellow to finish fifth.
It brought an end to their run of successive bronze medals in the first two legs of this year’s World Series, although with a big personal best achieved, the pair head to the fourth event in Moscow next weekend full of confidence.
While in the 3m synchro men’s final, Leeds duo Jack Laugher and Chris Mears gave a sign of what was to come, finishing fourth together on their long-awaited competitive debut as a pair.
Mears has spent the last nine months on the sidelines after suffering from ankle injuries, leaving Laugher relieved to finally come out and show what they can do with a score of 431.82.
“It’s brilliant to do it here in London, in front of a home crowd and to actually get over 430 is amazing for us, there were some mistakes in there but we can improve on them,” he said. “I’ve never been so nervous in my entire life. Chris and I have been wanting this for years so it’s amazing it can happen here in such a good venue.”
Tickets to see the world’s best divers at the FINA/NVC Diving World Series are still available. Go to www.swimming.org/finadiving/tickets to get your seat at the London Aquatics Centre