Aquatics

Daley and Lee achieve a new personal best on their way to European glory

TOM DALEY and Matty Lee delivered a sensational display of diving on Saturday night to win Great Britain’s first gold of the 2021 European Championships.

After a virtually flawless display from start to finish, the British pair won their second 10m synchro gold medal in as many weeks, after World Cup success in Japan exactly two weeks ago.

However, this time there was a 477.57 personal best score to boot.

Daley has never won a men’s 10m synchro European Championship title before and he was thrilled to do so.

“I’m absolutely delighted and that’s the first time I’ve won a synchro gold medal at the European Championships,” said Daley.

“I think we were five points higher than our previous personal best at the London World Series, so I’m just really happy.

“Our last dive wasn’t the best we could have done it, so there’s still room for improvement and we’ve got eight or nine weeks until we compete at the Olympics.”

Their total, which included three 90-plus scoring dives, will have sent a warning to the Chinese divers. Daley and Lee’s score would have won the recent Chinese nationals.

Lee added:  “It means so much to win this title and I’m very, very happy with it. There’s room for improvement still, even with a PB, but I’m just happy with how the World Cup went and now the European Championships.”

Diving second of eight pairings, Daley and Lee executed two strong required dives, before moving through the gears as they hit their optionals.

Leading at the halfway mark, the duo pressed on the accelerator, a truly stunning back three-and-a-half somersaults pike (207B) rewarded with 97.20 points, extending their lead.

But the Russian pair of Aleksandr Bondar and Viktor Minibaev, who took World Championship silver in 2019 when Daley and Lee won bronze, were not going to go down without a fight.

However, the Brits turned the screw once more with a 92.82 point reverse three-and-a-half somersaults tuck (307C) meaning a strong final dive would secure the title.

Showing both poise and panache, Daley and Lee delivered, another dive that scored in excess of 90 points clinching gold.

Daley will go again tomorrow in the individual event, which will be the last diving action of the European Championships before the swimming starts on Monday.

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