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Teenagers dominate diving titles

4 May 2015

DIVING: Teenagers Maddison Keeney and James Connor underlined their quality when they added further Australian titles to their names on the final day of the National Diving Championships in Brisbane.

19-year-old James Connor finished the week with four national titles, adding the men’s platform and 3-metre synchro titles to the individual 3-metre and platform synchro titles from Saturday.

18-year-old Keeney added the 3-metre springboard title to the 1-metre title from Thursday.

Connor’s 3-metre synchro partner, Grant Nel, had no hesitation labeling Connor the best male diver in Australia at the moment, but Connor was quick to play down the title.

“I don’t know how true that is, but I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself,” Connor said.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of great competitions, between Grant and me and any other divers coming through.

“This weekend has definitely gone as well as it could. Everything we did in the lead-up, it’s all just pieces in the puzzle, and it all came together over the four days. I’m absolutely rapt with it.”

Keeney has been battling a shoulder injury which had restricted her training in recent weeks.

“I was struggling quite a bit with my shoulder, I could only train two of my dives twice during the week,” Keeney said.

“Lately it’s been getting better, it was a bit niggly during the week because of the increased training, but it feels fine.

“I’ve been a lot more consistent lately, and I am getting a lot more confident. I’m feeling good about myself.”

There were great results in the springboard synchro events for Australia’s World Championship prospects, with Esther Qin and Samantha Mills in the women’s, and Grant Nel and James Connor in the men’s, both posting strong scores.

“It’s great that we’re growing together as a pair,” Nel said.

“Coming back from a silver medal in Canada, it’s great we could pull off an even better score at the Australian Open.”

In the women's 3-metre platform, two-time Olympian Melissa Wu posted one of her best scores of the year to win gold ahead of Queensland's Emily Meaney and Olympic silver medallist Brittany Broben who is still on the way back from injury.

Wu had a slow start to 2015 but feels she's now close to her best.

"I just had to pull my head in and get my act together, and dive the way I know I can," she said.

"I'm glad I was able to do that today and over the weekend."

Wu and Queensland's Lara Tarvit also teamed up to win gold in the women's platform synchronised event.

The Australian team for this year’s World Championships will be named later this week.

ROSS SOLLY FOR DIVING AUSTRALIA and AAP

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