Belgrade 2024: Spain win third gold and Great Britain take first title of European Aquatics Championships

Spain claimed their gold medal of the diving competition on day three of the European Aquatics Championships Belgrade 2024, as Ana Carvajal San Miguel came out on top in the Women’s 10m Platform final at the Serbian Institute of Sports and Sports Medicine.

The 17-year-old recovered from a drop on her first dive to always be inside the top-two from the second round – courtesy of a score of 72.00 on her Forward 3 ½ Somersaults Pike (107B), which was the highest-scoring dive of the event, receiving eights from the judges.

She didn’t have it all her own way, though. Her compatriot Valeria Angelina Antolino Pacheco inherited the top-spot in round two off France’s Jade Gillet thanks to two dives scoring over 60 points, before Ukraine’s Sofiia Lyskun put in a big score of 71.40 for her Inward 2 ½ Somersaults Pike (405B) to see her at the top after round 3.

It was then the Carvajal San Miguel show for the final two rounds, as she scored 56.00 and 44.20 for rounds 4 and 5 respectively to take and hold on to the gold with a total score of 287.90.  The Queen of consistency went to France’s Emily Hallifax, who was always inside the top five and held her nerve to take the silver medal on the final round with a score of 65.80 on her Inward 2 ½ Somersaults Pike – seeing her finish on 278.10. Dramatically, Lyskun also scored 278.10 – meaning the silver was shared.

Antolino Pacheco was just behind in fourth place, with Ukraine’s Karina Hlyzhina in fifth.

It was Hallifax who had the most to say when all was said and done, in what was her first European Championships.

“I’m really happy,” said the Frenchwoman. “I felt great. My dives were fine, nothing exceptional but I’m really happy to medal. It’s my first Europeans, I’m new, so in the coming years it will be better.”

Credit to: European Aquatics

Great Britain took their first diving medal of the competition with gold in the Mixed 3m Synchro event – their win coming after an intense four-way battle for the top-spot over the five rounds of dives.

Ben Cutmore and Desharne Bent-Ashmeil have both been crowned European champions previously, in 2022 and 2023 respectively, and they kept up their good form this time round – hitting a solid Forward 1 ½ Somersaults Pike (103B) to see them first on 46.80 points following the first round.

With Ukraine’s Bodhan Chyzhovskyi and Viktoriya Kesar taking the lead following the second of the required dives, it was the ever-busy Emilia Nilsson Garip and Elias Petersen of Sweden who made the most of their first free choice of dives on the third round – scoring high synchronisation and execution scores for their Inward 2 ½ Somersaults Pike (405B) to see the lead change hands once again.

The best dive of the competition came on the fourth round to see Great Britain regain their lead once gain, which they would hold through to the end. Cutmore and Bent-Ashmeil looked in near-perfect unison for their Forward 2 ½ Somersaults 1 Twist Pike (5152B), to give them a huge 63.90 points. They followed that up with their final dive, worth another 63 points, to take gold with a score of 268.50.

The silver and bronze medallists were split by just half a point, with Petersen and Nilsson Garip holding on for the second spot. Their highest-scoring dive, an Inward 2 ½ Somersaults Pike (405B) gave them 61.20 points, and was arguably the difference as they edged out the german pairing of Lou Massenberg and Jana Lisa Rother into bronze, as they also took a 60+ score on their final dive to close the gap, but it wasn’t enough.

Kesar and Chyzhovskyi finished just two points further back in fourth on 258.69, with Norway’s Isak Borslien and Caroline Kupka in fifth on 247.23. Poland and Georgia took sixth and seventh respectively.

Speaking following the event, Bent-Ashmeil gave a bit of insight into how she gets through competitions.

“I have to give all the glory to God for getting me through it and keeping me calm while I’ve been training and in competition,” said Bent-Ashmeil.

Cutmore also shed some light on how he uses the victory to prepare for the rest of his events.

“This win will be a big deal at the end of the week once I finish everything else,” he said. “I have to stay humble – if I get excited about this competition then I might fail on Friday because I’m too excited. It’s all about staying humble – I can’t come in as the best because I’ve got jobs to do.”

Petersen also spoke on what has been a series of improvements for the Swedish pair since they started competing together.

“Our first time competing together was three years ago at Europeans and we came fourth, which was a huge success. The year after we came third and now second. We didn’t expect it and now we are here, which is fun.”

Germany’s Massenberg rounded off the discussions by reflecting on his pairs’ performance.

“It’s a European Championships, the stakes are high and there were a lot of competitors so it was close for the medals, at the front as well as down to places five and six. We can be happy with how it turned out, we did a great job and managed to secure the bronze.”