Jack Laugher and Chris Mears scooped Great Britain’s second diving gold of the London 2016 European Aquatics Championships with an impressive victory in the 3m Synchro.
The hosts also claimed two individual medals on the night as Tonia Couch and Londoner Georgia Ward won 10m Platform silver and bronze respectively, taking the British medal tally to seven.
But it was World bronze medallists Laugher and Mears who stole the spotlight with their performance in London, replicating teammates Grace Reid and Tom Daley’s result in the Mixed 3m Synchro from 48 hours earlier.
The British pair took the title on 456.81, serving notice of their Olympic ambitions by defeating Russia’s Olympic and world silver medallists Ilia Zakharov and Evgenii Kuznetsov in the process.
The Russians had won the past five consecutive European titles but were always playing catch up with Laugher and Mears, who took hold of the lead in the third round and never looked back.
And Mears, who is a London 2016 Ambassador, admitted they had put in a successful block of training since winning two medals on the World Series earlier this year.
“We knew off the back of the World Series what we needed to work on and I think we have done that really well,” said Mears.
“We’ve not had that much preparation coming into the Europeans so it’s great to just win.”
“This is massive for us and 11-point PB,” added Laugher, who also won silver in the individual 3m Springboard.
“It’s the first time we’ve pulled off our triple out, the fifth dive where we scored over 94, which was sensational.
“This has been a long time coming because our synchro has been on form. It took a little while to get going this year but we’re definitely there now.
“Hopefully that score and that performance sends a message out to the rest of the world that we are on form ahead of Rio.”
Zakharov and Kuznetsov settled for silver on 445.23 while Ukraine’s Illya Kvasha picked up his third medal of the Championships, teaming up with Oleksandr Gorshkovozov for bronze on 439.86.
Ukraine topped the podium in the only other event of the night as Iuliia Prokopchuk swept to a fifth European title in the 10m Platform.
Having qualified in second from the prelims, the 2013 world bronze medallist reached top gear in the final, winning by more than 30 points on 385.90 – a tally that would have landed bronze at last year’s World Championships.
But while gold proved elusive for Couch and Ward, the British pair gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about as they landed their maiden individual European medals with silver and bronze respectively.
Couch was Prokopchuk’s nearest rival on the night, finishing on 352.70 while Londoner Ward, who won Team Event bronze on the opening night in her home pool, scored 325.05 to join her teammate on the podium.
“Europeans aren’t normally on my side to be honest so I had to focus on myself and not concentrate on what anyone else was doing,” said Couch. “I scored pretty high today – it’s not my best but I’m still really pleased.
“My first dive was awful in fact so I had to sit down, listen to some music and tell myself off really.
“But then I did an armstand for straight nines which I’ve never done before so I was really pleased and that put me back in the running to fight for that medal.
“The game isn’t over until the fat lady sings. I dropped two dives today but I was still up there in the running so I just had to focus on what I can normally do and show myself that I am a competitor.”
Ward added: “Me and Matty [Lee] won silver here last year at the World Series which was crazy but gave me a lot of confidence for this season.
“And now this year has been incredible, learning my new dive and competing it here so I’m happy.”
- Click here for full results from the Men’s 3m Synchro Final and Women’s 10m Platform Final.
Tickets for the European Aquatics Championships – the biggest event to be held at the London Aquatics Centre since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games – are still available either online HERE or on the door for the first five days.