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- 23. June 2008.

Olympic Diving Squad takes form


A ten-strong diving squad was today selected as part of Team GB and will now focus their attentions on success in Beijing after some excellent performances on the last day of the Diving Trials in Leeds.

Rebecca Gallantree (City of Leeds), Stacie Powell (Southampton Diving) and Tonia Couch (Plymouth Diving) were the final athletes to add their names to the biggest ever list of Olympic divers after performing consistently throughout the competition.

Gallantree performed impressively throughout the preliminary, semi-final and final of the women’s 3m Individual. She took the lead in the final rounds of the preliminary against City of Sheffield diver Jodie McGroarty and kept her nerve to continue her lead throughout the event.

The City of Leeds diver continued to show form with consistent scores of 7s and 8s to secure her Olympic place. The scores from all three rounds were added together to get a final score; meaning the most consistent diver throughout the competition would gain the Olympic spot.

Beijing bound Gallantree scored a total score of 847.95 as she guaranteed her qualification to her first Olympic Games.

“It really hasn’t sunk in for me yet,” Gallantree said. “I have been working so hard with the sports science staff in order to help me deal with the pressure of events like this.

“I was so nervous going into the preliminary. I really didn’t feel like myself, but I used what the Sport Psychologist said to me and I kept focused on what needed to be done.

“It helped me going into the final in the lead. It relaxed me slightly and I knew I had to just keep my dives steady and the marks would come.

“It is brilliant that I am going to the Olympics. My coach Ed Jongejans always helps to keep me focused. We have weekly meetings and he shares his experiences and gives me advice in how to deal with the tough situations. I am having a week off now and I think it will really sink in for me when I get back into training and we begin preparing for the Olympics.”

The women’s 10m Individual was the final spots that needed to be qualified and Powell and Couch went into the event looking confident after sealing their Olympic places in the women’s 10m Synchro yesterday.

The competition proved to be the closest of the day with five divers vying for two Olympic places. Powell and Couch were given a run for their money by Monique McCarroll (Southampton Diving) and Brooke Graddon (Plymouth Diving).

The scores proved very close and going into the final only 20 points separated the top three divers. McCarroll was in second place until she dropped her fourth dive, the back 2 ½ somersaults piked, and she fell down the score board.

With Powell in the lead the second place was up for grabs and Couch took of advantage of McCarroll’s miss by scoring 7s on her handstand back 2 somersaults 1 ½ twists in free position.

Powell finished with a total of 996.25 and Couch scored 982.70 as they took their Olympic spots. Both athletes will now compete in the 10m individual and synchro.

“I am overwhelmed by what has just happened,” Powell said. “I am so happy with that result. There was a lot of tough competition for me and although I had already qualified I still felt the pressure today.

“I think all the background work I put in with Alex Bagiu when I first learnt to dive is really paying off. I also think that the hard work Tonia and I out into our synchro has really helped my individual.”

On her selection Couch said: “I am really happy, there are only three of us that are competing in two events and I think that is a real achievement.

“I have been working really hard on training to make sure I was getting things right and I think it really showed out there.”

The Female Olympic Diving squad is as follows:

Synchronised Diving

Women’s Springboard (3m): Hayley Sage (City of Sheffield),Tandi Gerrard (City of Leeds)
Women’s Platform (10m): Stacie Powell (Southampton Diving), Tonia Couch (Plymouth Diving)

Individual Diving

Women’s Springboard (3m): Rebecca Gallantree (City of Leeds)
Women’s Platform (10m): Tonia Couch (Plymouth Diving), Stacie Powell (Southampton Diving)

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