Yorkshire divers make up two thirds of England squad

Jack Laugher leads the Yorkshire challenge in the diving disciplines at the Commonwealth Games.
Jack Laugher leads the Yorkshire challenge in the diving disciplines at the Commonwealth Games.
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Yorkshire’s strength as a hotbed of diving was emphasised again yesterday when the announcement of England’s squad for the Commonwealth Games showed two thirds of the representatives have White Rose links.

Seven of the 15-strong team were born in Yorkshire while a further three have their training base in either Leeds or Sheffield.

Harrogate’s Jack Laugher, 19, fresh from a breakthrough World Series in which he finished third, takes his place in the team as a 3m specialist in the individual discipline, and in the synchro alongside his City of Leeds clubmate and former Olympic finalist Chris Mears.

Laugher is joined by his fellow Olympians Hannah Starling, 19, from Leeds, Wakefield’s Alicia Blagg, 17, and their fellow diver from the John Charles Aquatics Centre, Rebecca Gallantree.

Sixteen-year-old Matty Lee makes his major competition debut, while his fellow Leeds-born diver 20-year-old James Denny can call on previous experience of competing in the European Championships.

From the City of Sheffield club at Ponds Forge, veteran Nick Robinson-Baker of Farnborough has been selected, as has 18-year-old former European junior silver medallist Freddie Woodward.

Sheffield-born Commonwealth Games debutante Woodward, who is in his first season as a senior athlete, said: “To be named as part of Team England is just amazing.

“This is the first big selection of my career so I am delighted.

“In diving you don’t get the chance to represent England very often and this is a real honour for me.

“This season has gone so well for me so I want to keep doing what I’m doing, keep working hard and focusing on being at the Games.

“I really can’t wait to get out there on those boards.”

Harrogate’s Oliver Dingley, 19, who now trains in Southend, has also been selected in a team speaheaded by Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley and Tonia Couch.