Aquatics / Olympics

Mixed emotions for Plymouth divers Couch and Barrow at Olympics

Sarah Barrow, Andy Banks, Tonia Couch

PLYMOUTH’S Tonia Couch is hoping she can carry on Great Britain’s impressive Olympics in the diving pool.

Team GB have enjoyed an historic Games in Rio, collecting a record-breaking three diving medals in Brazil and having an athlete in all the finals to date.

Couch has made the women’s individual semi-final, which start at 2pm (BST) on Thursday, by finishing fifth in the prelims with a score of 332.80 points.

The top 12 in the semi-final will progress through the final, which will take place six hours later.

But whereas Couch is hoping to challenge the world’s best divers for a medal, there was disappointment for her Plymouth team-mate Sarah Barrow, who surprisingly missed out on progressing through the prelims after only scoring 277.40 points on Wednesday.

Both city divers were down on their best scores and admitted it was tough competing at the open air venue and with such a big field.

“It was hard to stay focused for such a long time in a 28-diver preliminary round,” said Couch, who recovered from a poor opening dive that left her down in 25th place.

“Three of my dives were really good so, hopefully, I can do those again (in the semi) and the two that I dropped a little bit, hopefully, I can step them up.

“I had a shaky start but I had a talk to myself and shook things up a little. I was a little bit flat to start off with.

“I will make sure I am really pumped for the semi. To qualify fifth with two dives dropped, is a good start.

“It’s been the best ever [Games] and Team GB are doing so well and, hopefully, we can carry it on for the next few days.”

Couch had already competed in Rio, taking part in the synchro with Lois Toulson on August 9, but Wednesday was Barrow’s first outing in the Olympic pool.

The former European champion and World Championship finalist admitted she was disappointed with her performance.

Barrow had secured her place in Rio by winning the British Championships with a score of 347.90.

She said: “My warm-up was actually quite good so I felt okay going into the competition as that was probably the best I have dived since I have been out here. I felt ready.

“My first dive was good but my second dive was the one that had been a bit troubling in training. Sometimes it works in your favour for competitions and other times it doesn’t and it didn’t here.

“It was difficult to get myself back in from there but I have enough experience and should have.

“I tried my absolute best but training has been really hard out here.

“I am not making excuses as I have enough experience and it just wasn’t meant to be and I’m disappointed not to be in the semis.

“I am disappointed with the score and I wanted to finish with a better score than that.”

Barrow, who has been troubled with injury for the past 18 months, had to overcome the odds to secure her place in Rio.

The 27-year-old said: “The journey has been really tough but I got here on a good score and I wanted to do that again and there are no excuses for why I didn’t.”

Tom Daley, who won a synchro bronze with Dan Goodfellow in the opening diving event in Rio, will begin his individual campaign on Friday.

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