PLYMOUTH Diving’s European junior champion Matthew Dixon was happy with how his first competition of 2017 went.
The 16-year-old won synchro gold on Saturday night with London’s Noah Williams before claiming an individual bronze medal in a thrilling men’s platform final on Sunday afternoon.
The Plymouth Studio School pupil enjoyed a great battle with Williams, Matty Lee and Dan Goodfellow in the last event of the three-day competition.
Dixon, Lee and Williams were neck-and-neck going into the final two rounds, but it was Williams who came through to take gold with two brilliant final dives. He finished with 477.95 points.
Lee, who claimed an incredible 109.15 points for his last effort, took silver with 471.85 and Dixon third with 432.70 and Olympic synchro bronze medallist Goodfellow fourth with 390.75. Plymouth Diving’s Alfie Brown produced a good display to take sixth.
Dixon scored more than 80 points for three of his six dives in the final, but it was his fifth round effort that cost him a higher placed finish. However, he was encouraged by his early season display.
“I’m really happy,” said Dixon after the individual final. “My performance was really good. I just dropped one dive, and one dive can cost you. But I was happy with everything else. I had a couple of good dives.”
Dixon admitted his synchro partner Williams and Lee produced some incredible diving on the day.
“You have to give it to them – they dived brilliantly,” said the Plymothian. “Their last couple of dives were pretty amazing.”
Dixon had a great year in 2016, not only winning the European junior title but also claiming a bronze medal at the World Junior Championships, and he is hoping for another impressive 12 months.
“Hopefully, this sets me up well,” said Dixon, who competed as a 14-year-old at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. “I have got a lot of junior events coming up and, hopefully, some senior events too.
“Last year was amazing and, hopefully, I can improve even more this year.”
He added: “I would like to go to the junior and senior Europeans and some Grand Prix events.
“I have done a few Grand Prix competitions and a senior Europeans before but the Commonwealth Games was my major senior event.”
Dixon, Lee, Williams and Goodfellow are all battling for that second Great Britain individual men’s platform spot behind European champion Tom Daley.
“There are quite a few of us going for it,” said Dixon. “Jumping from juniors to seniors is the ultimate goal for me.”
Dixon is also hoping his new synchro partnership with Williams can bring more success.
The pair scored an impressive 391.86 points in their first outing together on Saturday, which was more than Daley and Goodfellow scored at last year’s National Cup in their first competition as a duo.
Dixon, reflecting on his weekend, added: “I still have a few things to work on, mostly my reverse. My reverse (dive) is only a couple of weeks old. I only learnt it two weeks ago but managed to do synchro with Noah.
“It’s always good to do synchro and I’m looking forward to doing more with Noah in junior and senior events.”
He also enjoyed competing again at the Life Centre.
“It’s always good to compete in your home pool as you have family come down to support you and you are used to the surroundings,” said the teenager.
Dixon’s Plymouth team-mate Aidan Heslop narrowly missed out on reaching the platform final.
He was in sixth place going into the final round, but dropped his last dive to finish ninth and miss out on the final by one spot and just over one point, with Brown taking the all-important eighth place.
Club colleague Kayleigh Sinclair did reach the final of the women’s three-metre final, where she came eighth.
There will be more competitive diving at the Life Centre next weekend when Plymouth holds the annual Armada Cup, an event that attracts divers of all standards from across the country.