Divers ready to make a splash in Kazan
24 July 2015
Australia's rising star James Connor isn't fazed by an unforgiving world diving championships schedule as he aims to convert domestic domination to the international success.
A self-confessed jack of all trades, the 20-year-old Victorian is contesting all four of the events he won at the Australian championships at the world titles which get underway in Kazan, Russia on Saturday.
Connor will dive with Matthew Mitcham's Commonwealth Games gold medal partner Domonic Bedggood in the platform synchro and team up with Grant Nel - also a partner of the absent Mitcham - in the 3m synchro.
He'll also compete in the individual platform and 3m springboard, the latter in which he beat both Olympic gold medallist Mitcham and Commonwealth Games medallist Nel by a margin of more than 25 points at the national championships in May.
Expectations for him are high on debut at the world championships, but Connor says he isn't worried about shouldering the busiest workload of the entire Australian team as they aim to book Rio Olympics spots for their country.
"After the (London) Olympics I went through a bit of a phase of what's right for me, what should I be doing," he said.
"A coach once said to me, why would I limit my chances of making the Australian team? I'm enjoying being a jack of all trades and trying my hand at everything.
"As far as which of these events I would like to contest if I'm lucky enough to qualify for Rio, that's a call we'll make closer to the event."
One of Australia's best chances for a medal in Kazan will come on day two, when Samantha Mills and Esther Qin contest the 3m synchro.
Mills and Qin have won three silver medals at World Series level since coming together as a synchro team 12 months ago.
"I think we'll go in their pretty confident, knowing we've beaten most of the best teams in the world," Mills said.
"We're feeling more relaxed and less nervous with every competition."
Maddison Keeney is a strong medal prospect in the springboard events, while team captain and Olympic silver medallist Melissa Wu will supplement her synchro and individual platform campaigns by teaming up with Bedggood in a new inclusion, the mixed platform synchro.
Synchronised teams need to finish top three to qualify for next year's Rio Olympics, while the top 12 in the 3m and platform individual events will book places for their country at the Olympics.