Ripon’s Olympic diver Jack Laugher secured his third consecutive 3m springboard title at the British Gas Diving Championships in Plymouth at the weekend.
The 18-year-old Ripon Grammar Student, who dives for the City of Leeds squad, is the reigning 3m junior world champion having claimed gold in Australia back in October.
Plymouth marked his first competition since then, but it was an impressive return for Laugher who included two new difficult dives for the first time.
Laugher finished with 448.10, a score which would have been good enough to medal at London 2012, and he was happy with his performance.
“It was a good performance,” he said.
“I nailed my two new dives but unfortunately I dropped a dive that’s normally my safety dive and I don’t know why. 448 is definitely a good score but there’s still a lot of stuff to work on throughout year.”
By contrast, Team GB compatriot Chris Mears had to settle for seventh place.
Retaining his title had put the pressure on Laugher, but he used it to his advantage to clinch the gold.
“There’s always pressure when you dive at nationals because for some reason it’s a really pressurised event,” he revealed.
“But I’ve won quite a few times so I kind of use that to push myself forward and carry on the streak rather than let it go.”
The A-Level student also won silver in the 1m springboard in Plymouth.
Laugher’s big target for 2013 is reaching July’s World Championships in Barcelona, something he still has to work towards to in terms of impressive British national performance director Alexei Evangulov.
“I was four points under the qualifying standard in prelims and 2 points in the final, which was a shame as I should be able to make the qualification standard definitely, so I’m a little bit disappointed with that,” he said.
“It was a little bit hard to prepare for this, I haven’t been in this pool very much, but it was a good performance overall and I’m happy and hopefully Alexei will take me to worlds.
“I’m taking a step back this year from all competitions to focus mainly on school and finish my A levels. I don’t have time to go to school and compete at the six World Series events as well. So at the end of the year when school’s finished I’ll train really hard for the senior world championships.”
“If I get the points here and Alexei selects me I don’t need to compete throughout the year. I’ve negotiated with him that I don’t need to compete that much and he’s happy with that strategy. He thinks it’ll be good after the Olympics to take an off year and then to really get back hard into it.”
“I think I’m doing a Russian grand prix and maybe one World Series and that’s pretty much it. The day I would compete in senior Europeans I’ve actually got A level exams so I can’t do that.
“In springboard diving the average age is 23 or 24 when you at your strongest and fittest and I’ve only just turned 18 so I’ve still got years. It might be the 2020 Games before I’m at my peak so I’ve got a long way to go.”
Jack Laugher is a member of the British Gas GBR Diving Team. This spring British Gas is launching Swim Britain, a campaign to create a healthier nation and get more people swimming regularly by 2015. Visit www.facebook.com/BGSwimming