Olga Kamardina, FINA correspondent in Russia

The favorites checked in on top twice as the 2018 FINA Diving World season came to a close.

The final competition day of the 2018 FINA Diving World Series #4 in Kazan, Russia, had it all: superlative performances, high DD dives and home success, and again incomparable Chinese shone on the brightest in 2 out of 3 events. The best of the rest, however, were well ready for a hot pursuit. Read on to learn how the events unfolded, and which other nations booked their podium presence.

Women’s 3m springboard: 1 – 2 medal-lock for China

Women’s 3m springboard was another chapter in the contest between China and China. They have been unbeatable for fully 3 legs: in Beijing, Fuji and Montreal, and Kazan was never meant to be a different story.

Reigning Olympic and world champion Shi Tingmao opened the contest leading and scored 76.50 points for the Inward 2 1/2 Somersaults pike. The pace set seemed too high for her challengers.

As the competition progressed, Shi steadily improved on her overall total and used to repeat her day-best two more times (on her second, 205B, and fifth, 107B, attempts). Posting a Forward 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 Twist pike on the ultimate attempt, she celebrated a handsome 374 points victory by 19.30 points to compatriot Han. Wang Han collected silver, her fourth in the circuit.

The podium completed to a full resemblance to the 2017 FINA World Championship in Budapest and that of the previous DWS-2018 Leg in Montreal, as Jennifer Abel of Canada sealed bronze. Her famous “double out” dive, set for the last but one round, was not a success, obtaining as bad as 66.30, and her podium was a result of a well performed Back 2 1/2 Somersaults pike, in her last round (72.00).

“I am so excited to register one more win. We train really hard to make podiums possible. – confessed Shi Tingmao of China. – Winning is never easy. Every time you go out to compete, you should prove you are the best. As for my dives today, they were again not that perfect, I dived 60% to what I can. There are some dives, which I still look to master, and the so called “double out” is one of them”.

“Diving is always a pleasure, - noted Wang Han. – I congratulate everyone on the end of the 2018 Diving World Series, which was pretty successful for my nation. I am proud a lot!”.

“Combatting Chinese, which are very very strong, is always a big challenge, - emphasized Jennifer Abel of Canada. – It is only possible, if you are flawless. Luck means a lot, of course, but having mistakes meaning you have to work more to improve”.

Summary: The results of the 2018 edition of the FINA Diving World Series depicted a strong dominance of the Chinese, who collected 8 out of 12 medals in the women’s 3m springboard, including 4 gold on offer. The bronze winning nations were reduced to Canada (3 times) and Russia.

Medal ceremony in the women's 3m springboard event

Men’s 10m platform: a diving carousel to bring new personal bests

Yang Jian of China revealed his winning intentions early in the competition. His opening dive, an Inward 3 1/2 Somersaults pike (with DD 3.5), obtained him 89.25 points. Then, top scoring in each round except the fourth, he went on the new challenges and his 3rd and 5th attempts were paid over 100 points. The Chinese hero sealed his fantastic program by impressive Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults pike (DD 4.1), earned a day-high of 104 points, and set a new his overall record, 581.60 points. His closest chaser was left far behind, a distant 47.80 points.

The silver pursuit started as a carousel. At first, Maksym Dolgov of Ukraine, then Benjamin Auffret of France, and finally Aleksandr Bondar of Russia were changing each other on the second. However, the host managed to preserve the height reached, with Auffret ever on his heels, hot ready waiting.

There came a brilliant showcase of uneasy dives with a high degree of difficulty, like a Forward 4 1/2 Somersaults pike or a Back 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 1/2 Twists pike, and the contenders scores never dipped below 90 points. Bondar did better and better, and winged by the loud shout of the home crowd, confedently purchased silver at 533 points. The overall turned to be his personal best in the circuit. Auffret finished with bronze, setting his record too, at 499.80 points.

“I missed my third dive, and got as low as fifth, - Benjamin Auffret of France related his story of pocketing bronze. - I did not spend much time to recover, but it was not enough to be successful chasing silver. I have to work a lot now, when I come back home. The Diving World Cup is just in 3 weeks".

“Kazan is a nice city, and it was a pleasure to dive here at the Aquatics Palace, - said Yang Jian, the winner. – Gold means you are the best, and I always strive to do the best I can. So nice, when you work hard and your efforts are rewarded by the best color of the medal”.

“Today was a good diving day in my office, but my performance was not excellent, - critisezed on himself silver medalist Aleksandr Bondar. – Silver is a good medal, I went one step higher comparing to #3 Montreal. My opponents were very very strong, but I like having a close competition”.

Summary: It will be pretty hard in the next edition of the FINA Diving World Series both to improve and to repeat the mark set in this in the men's 10m platform. China earned all 4 golds at stake as well as 3 silver pieces. Russia (2 bronze, 1 silver) and France (2 bronze) have been competitive enough to award their podium presence. 

Winners in the men's 10m platform event

Mixed 3m synchro springboard: Déjà vu #3Montreal

Three duos together were on top after the first round of compulsory dives. They were Russian Nadezhda Bazhina/Nikita Shleikher, Jennifer Abel/Francois Imbeau-Dulac of Canada and German Tina Punzel/Lou Massenberg, 50.40. After the second attempt, Canadians were pushed down by the British as the top three remain running at preliminary overall of 98.40.

Optional dives came to bring scoring diversity. Great Britain returned on top, but could not stay there for long. Posting a Forward 3 1/2 Somersaults pike, bought at 76.26 points, Abel/IMbeau-Dulac sneaked ahead by a mere 0.6 points, strengthening their golden bid in the ultimate round. The famous “double out”, Forward 2 1/2 Somersaults 2 Twists pike, received 81.60 points as the winning overall reached 324.96 points.

British Thomas Daley (who did not take part in the individual program of the Leg#4 in Kazan meaning to cure his leg injury to the full) and Reid Grace registered their new DWS season’s best of 317.70 points. They got to finish with silver, for the 4th time in the circuit. Germany won their second bronze, following a good impulse of Montreal’s #3, at 306.00.

“It was a very tough competition, - commented Jennifer Abel of Canada on her second medal of the day. - Our opponents were very strong. It was pretty difficult to stay focused on the last dive, which was a 5154B. We intentionally saved it for the last, as it has a high 3.4DD, and it helped us to win”.

“We are very happy to collect all silver of the 2018 FINA Diving World Series, - said Grace Reid of Great Britain. - Our Canadian opponents did a great job, of course, we watched them diving their final attempt. They absolutely have deserved the win”.

“We are very satisfied with our result, - admittedbronze medalist German Loi Massenberg. - We did pretty well. There were some little mistakes, but overall, we can be very happy with this performance”.

Medal ceremony in the mixed 3m synchro springboard

Summary: Summarizing the DWS-2018 season in the mixed 3m springboard event, Chinese dominated on stage in all cases they were in the contest, as their absence gave rise for the new stars. Canada won gold twice, as British Daley/Reid turned out to be the most consistent chasers, rewarded by 4 silver on offer, whereas bronze was always an open question, awarded to Canada, Russia and Germany.

The ultimate Leg#4 of the 2018 FINA Diving World Series drew to a close on Sunday, May 6, and it once again highlighted the Chinese dominance in the circuit. In Kazan they sealed 7 gold and 2 silver en route to the impressive overall: 34 gold, 13 silver and 2 bronze. Canadian turned out to be next with 3 wins, 2 silver and 8 bronze. Russia appeared on the podium 19 times with 2 gold, 9 silver and 8 bronze medals. Malaysia was the fourth nation on top of the podium this edition. The other medal winning nations in the 2018 FINA Diving World Series were North Korea, Japan, USA, Great Britain, Germany, Australia, Ukraine and France, with their divers striving to raise the competition challenge each time.

Competition results. FINA Diving World Series 2018. Leg 4. 

Day 3 May, 6

3m springboard women

1. SHI Tingmao (CHN) 374.35
2. WANG Han (CHN) 355.05
3. ABEL Jennifer (CAN) 338.55
4. QIN Esther (AUS) 329.25
5. WARE Pamela (CAN) 321.65
6. SABRI Nur Dhabitah Binti (MAS) 294.60

10m platform men

1. YANG Jian (CHN) 581.60
2. BONDAR Aleksandr (RUS) 533.80
3. AUFFRET Benjamin (FRA) 499.80
4. SHLEIKHER Nikita (RUS) 486.25
5. RIENDEAU Vincent (CAN) 448.50
6. DOLGOV Maksym (UKR) 426.25

Mixed 3m synchro springboard

1. ABEL Jennifer/IMBEAU-DULAC Francois (CAN) 324.96
2. REID Grace/DALEY Thomas (GBR) 317.70
3. PUNZEL Tina/MASSENBERG Lou (GER) 306.00
4. BAZHINA Nadezhda/SHLEIKHER Nikita (RUS) 302.70
5. BERTOCCHI Elena/VERZOTTO Maicol (ITA) 280.98