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Olympic bronze medallists take honours at Australian Diving Open

23 May 2017

DIVING: Olympic diving bronze medallists Anabelle Smith and Maddison Keeney have held off a determined challenge from teammates Esther Qin and Georgia Sheehan to win gold in the 3-metre synchro at the Australian Open and World Championship selection trials at the Sydney Aquatic Centre.

Smith and Keeney finished on 318.51 points, with Qin and Sheehan on 309.30. Victoria’s Annarose Keating and Ruby Neave were third on 266.07.

Glasgow gold medallist Domonic Bedggood and former elite gymnast, Declan Stacey, were convincing winners in the men’s platform synchro, finishing on 413.88 points, with South Australia’s Brodie Scans and Ross Todd finishing on 353.94.

Smith and Keeney, who also won bronze in this event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, took the lead after the third dive of the six-dive final and were never headed.

The result should put Smith and Keeney in the team for the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest in August, where they will start a strong medal prospect.

Tuesday’s close result sets the scene for what should be hard fought 3-metre and 1-metre finals later this week, when the quartet will be battling for two World Championship positions in each discipline.

Qin won gold in the 3-metres at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, while Sheehan won 3-metre gold at the 2014 World Junior Championships in Russia in 2014.

Bedggood, who won gold with Olympic gold medallist Matthew Mitcham in the men’s synchro in Glasgow, began what will be a busy week of competition with a solid performance alongside Stacey in the men’s synchro platform final.

Stacey came across to diving last year after a career as an elite gymnast, winning platform bronze for Australia at his first international event, the FINA Grand Prix, on the Gold Coast last year.

Triple-Olympian Melissa Wu dominated the preliminary rounds of the women’s platform on Tuesday, and will head into Thursday’s final as a red hot favourite.

The early rounds of the men’s 3-metres was a much tighter affair, with Kevin Chavez finishing ahead of Rio Olympic teammate, James Connor, in the preliminary round, before Connor, who also competed at the London Olympics, posted the highest score in the semi-final.

The men’s 3-metre final will also be contested on Thursday afternoon.

The Australian Open and World Championship selection trials continues on Wednesday, with finals in the men’s 3-metre synchro and the women’s platform synchro.

Ross Solly
Diving Australia

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