Aquatics / Olympics

Plymouth’s Couch and Barrow bid for Olympic synchro spot in Rio

Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow

PLYMOUTH divers Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow will be hoping to secure Great Britain an Olympic platform synchro spot on Friday in Brazil.

The city pair are competing at the FINA World Cup, which is acting as a test event for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.

The World Cup is the last chance for divers to qualify for the Olympics.

World Series champion Couch has already secured Great Britain an individual place by reaching last year’s World Championship final, but the pressure is now on to claim one of the four remaining synchro spots on offer.

Couch and Barrow have been one of the best synchro pairs in the world over the last few years. They have won European, Commonwealth and World Series medals and finished fifth at the last Olympics Games.

However, only eight pairs can qualify for Rio, with four of them spots having already been taken by last year’s World Championship medal winners China, Canada, North Korea and host country Brazil.

The remaining places with go to the four best finishes at the World Cup who have not already qualified.

Couch and Barrow’s main rivals for one of the four remaining places will be Australia, Malaysia, United States, Germany and Russia.

Neither Couch nor Barrow, who finished first and second at the recent National Cup in Southend, will compete in the individual event at the World Cup.

Couch has already claimed GB a place and so could not secure another spot, while British officials wanted Barrow to concentrate on the synchro.

Instead, youngsters Lois Toulson and Georgia Ward, who were third and fourth at the National Cup, will try to claim GB the second individual place on offer for the women’s platform event at the Olympics. To do that they need to reach the semi-finals at the World Cup. Any Olympic places secured are for the country and not for an individual.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Tom Daley and Plymouth Diving’s Dan Goodfellow will try to book GB a men’s 10m synchro place.

The same qualification criteria applies to them as for Couch and Barrow. The four men’s teams who have already qualified are China, Mexico, Russia and Brazil.

As Daley has already secured GB an individual place by winning World Championship bronze last year, he also will not compete in the individual event this weekend.

Diving in Rio takes place outdoors and GB divers have been preparing during the winter at training camps in Florida and Australia.

Natasha MacManus is also competing at the World Cup for Ireland.

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