PLYMOUTH Diving’s Matthew Dixon was happy to take second place behind world champion Tom Daley in the men’s platform event at the National Cup at the Life Centre on Sunday.
Olympic medallist Daley was a class apart in the final, despite one below par dive, finishing with an impressive early season score of 512.15 points.
But fellow Plymothian Dixon proved the best of the rest in a strong field to take second with 440.50 points.
His club colleague Aidan Heslop just missed out on making the podium an all-Plymouth affair with a fourth-placed finish, with London’s Kyle Kothari just edging him out on the final round.
Heslop, though, did finish as the top junior with 405.40 points, with his Plymouth team-mates Euan McCabe and Alfie Brown second and third juniors having excelled to make the eight-strong final. McCabe, the youngest in the final, scored an impressive 380.20 points, which was only nine points behind Great Britain star Matty Lee.
It was a good day for Plymouth divers, with Kayleigh Sinclair finishing fourth in a competitive women’s three-metre final, where she beat international stars Katherine Torrance and Grace Reid.
Dixon was certainly delighted to make the podium on Sunday, just like his cousin, Shanice Lobb, had done the day before in the women’s final.
“I am really happy with the silver medal,” said Dixon afterwards. “I had a nice consistent prelim and a consistent final. I just had one bad dive, which was my new one. That has been going well in training, it was just unfortunate that in the competition it was not so good.
“I have only competed with that dive once before, so I just have to get a lot more confidence in competition with it.
“If I had hit that dive today it could have taken me all the way up to the high 400s instead of the mid-400s, but I am really happy to have a new dive and come second.
The positions changed regularly during the final with Daley, Dixon, Kothari, Heslop, Matty Lee and Noah Williams all moving up and down the standings during the six rounds.
“I think everyone had at least one dive they dropped, but overall it was a really good performance by everyone,” said Dixon.
“All the top six are really talented guys and we are all switching all the time, but luckily I got the silver medal.”
Dixon is now waiting to find out if he will get the chance to compete for Great Britain at the World Series or whether he will be getting more experience at Grand Prix events.
Daley will be competing at the World Series and he was also happy with his performance on Sunday in Plymouth after taking a break from diving last year.
“It’s nice to be able to go back to training next week and have those things that I have to work on, as you don’t want to be diving at the very, very best of your ability at the start of the year – you want to be saving it for the World Championships.”
Daley did delight the Plymouth crowd with a stunning last dive that produced a five 10s and two nine-and-a-halves and scored him a massive 108.00 points.
“I knew I was in the running to get a 500 point score, which is what every men’s platform diver wants to get,” said Daley. “I knew I needed like 100 points for the last dive. Standing on the end of the board I knew I’d have to get it moving and do a good one, so I was really happy with it.
“I love coming back to Plymouth and diving in front of a hometown crowd. It’s been nice to have my mum and Lance watching, and my brothers were able to come along, so I’m really happy about that.”