Aquatics

Dixon ‘ecstatic’ after breaking 500-point barrier and winning British title

PLYMOUTH’S Matthew Dixon said he was ‘ecstatic’ after breaking the magical 500-point barrier to win his third British platform title.

The 19-year-old produced the best performance of his young career to score 503.85 points and win gold at the Life Centre in front of family and friends.

He finished 20 points ahead of his Commonwealth Games synchro partner Noah Williams, who took silver with 483.00 points.

“I’m ecstatic I got that 500 mark,” said Dixon, who had also won the British title in 2014 and 2018.

“I was so close to achieving it in 2018 when I got 496 points but finally this year I got it.

“I have wanted to top that 500 mark for a long time – I think every platform diver does as it is big points and it’s where you are going to get medals.

“I can’t really put into words how happy I am.”

He added: “I just took it dive by dive and it paid off. And I can’t thank the home crowd enough – they were amazing.

“This gives me massive confidence and it puts me in the right place.

“This is an amazing start to the year and I’m hoping to get selection for the World Cup now and, if so, I’ll hopefully do well there and then potentially there’s a chance to get selected for the Olympics, which is the ultimate dream.

“But there are some amazing divers in the UK and it is so hard for the manager to choose. There’s just two spots and Tom Daley has one and all the rest of us are battling it out of the other one.”

After winning the British title in 2018 and picking up two silver medals at the Commonwealth Games and a European silver medal in the same season, Dixon spent last year trying to learn some new and more difficult dives to try and take him to the next level.

He admitted it had been hard, but he managed to nail his high-scoring four-and-a-half somersault dive in the fourth round on Sunday, scoring 92.50 points, which proved decisive in him winning.

“The four-and-a-half has been a bit funny,” he said. “I didn’t do it well earlier on in the week and I was getting nervous about it. This morning it wasn’t great but I was happy I got it around and I knew where it was and this evening I managed to put it down. As soon as I put it down I was so happy and relieved. I knew then I just had to take the last two dives steady, which I did.”

He added: “It has been really hard to learn new dives. In August I learned an armstand back one-and-a-half twist, then in October I learned it with two-and-a-half twists and competed it at the Scottish Nationals for the first time (in December), but it didn’t go too well so I had to change it back to the armstand triple and thankfully it paid off.”

Fellow Plymouth diver Euan McCabe finished a highly-encouraging week with a ninth-place finish in the platform preliminary round.

The 14-year-old had made the springboard final the day before and would have probably made the platform final had a wrist injury not prevented him from diving from the 10-metre board. He was only able to dive from the five-metre and seven-and-a-half metre boards, which ruled him out of contention for the final.

Another young up-and-coming Plymouth diver, Josh Freeman, was 13th in the same preliminary round.

Junior team-mate Summer Radcliffe came 11th in the women’s three-metre event.

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