HARROGATE’S Jack Laugher kept his cool as the rain poured down to move within one win of a gold medal hat-trick at the Commonwealth Games.
Just 24 hours after winning the 1m springboard, the 23-year old dominated his rivals to win the 3m springboard.
There were further celebrations as girlfriend Lois Toulson won a surprise bronze in the women’s 10m platform event.
Laugher was so far ahead going into the sixth and final dive that a medal had been secured and he could probably have bombed the pool and still taken the title.
Today he competes with Chris Mears in the 3m synchro event as they look to add the Commonwealth title to their Olympic success in Rio in 2016.
Injury has sidelined Laugher for much of this year and this was his first major competition in his signature event.
He admitted to having nerves, but it is unclear why. He produced six top dives to score 519.40, just a few points down on his personal best score from the Olympics.
Canada’s Philippe Gagne took silver, 67 points behind, while Australia’s James Connor completed the podium, edging Sheffield diver Ross Haslam into fourth for the second straight day.
Laugher has been struggling with injuries, but the manner of this performance will certainly boost his confidence ahead of diving’s World Series and this summer’s European Championships in Glasgow.
“With my injuries I’m still behind where I need to be, so that score is brilliant and there’s still more in there,” he said.
“I had a pretty dreadful fifth dive in qualifying, so to go from that to leading from start to finish and getting that score, it means so much.”
They had Advance Australia Fair stuck on repeat at this venue during the swimming, but Laugher is making Jerusalem, England’s stirring anthem, the song of choice and the diving pool his ‘green and pleasant land’.
He is feeling bullish about hearing it again. “I was very emotional on the podium, I love that anthem and it really got to me,” he said.
“I wasn’t singing, though, I’ve got a terrible singing voice.
“Chris and I are extremely experienced and we’ve got the big three: Commonwealths, Olympics and European titles.
“Chris is looking in fantastic form and my form is clearly pretty good, too, so I can hopefully go out there and complete that hat-trick.”
Sheffield diver Haslam shrugged off the disappointment of another medal near-miss and insisted he would only be better for the experience.
“I’m disappointed to be that close to a medal, I know I had those points I needed in me,” he said. “Unlike the 1m competition they were six consistent dives, I just hit them as well as I could.
“Things like this will make you stronger, knowing I’ve got consistency and still more left is really promising.”
Huddersfield’s Toulson said: “I wasn’t expecting a medal at all. Obviously the Olympics is the main aim, but I’m taking it a step at a time. That was a really tough field out there, so I’m really pleased.
“I’m also so pleased for Jack. It meant a lot for him to come over and give me a hug.”.
Interview via npower, official partner of Team England. Visit npower.com/teamengland.