Italy claims first diving gold of Roma 2022

Team Italy celebrate in front of home fans in Rome – Simone Castrovillari / LEN
Nick Hope byline

Hosts Italy made a perfect start to their Roma 2022 European diving campaign with victory in the Team Event on the opening day of competition.

The event featured six teams which each consisted of four divers who performed six routines across four rounds, with their scores to decide the medallists.

Athletes perform two rounds of mixed synchronised dives – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

The Italians featured two-time European champion Chiara Pellacani as well as team-mates Sarah Jodoin Di MariaAndreas Larsen and Eduard Timbretti Gugiu.

They attained an impressive total of 402.55 to claim the first diving gold of Roma 2022.

Ukraine (399.05) took silver, with Great Britain (384.70) completing the podium line-up.

“We had a lot of fun diving in front of a home crowd, that’s what gave us the power to dive well and it’s amazing,” said Jodoin Di Maria of Italy.

Watch Italy secure Team Diving gold via LEN TV

Pellacani added; “I was nervous for the first dive competing at home because I saw a lot of poeple and my parents, but it was amazing.

“I think I’ll remember this day forever as it’s my pool and I’m from Rome, so it was special.”

Spain led after the opening two rounds – which were conducted from the 3m springboard, with Germany and Ukraine occupying the other two podium places.

Once the event moved to the 10m platform though Italy and Great Britain surged up the leader board. 

Ukrainian quartet – Viktoriya Kesar, Danylo Konovalov, Kseniia Bailo and Kirill Boliukh – paid tribute to those still living and fighting in their homeland.

Ukrainian athletes have been supported by many European nations – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

“This is very important not just for us, but our country and we are so proud,” said Konovalov.

“The war is still going on and we pay tribute to our defenders and our family who are left behind and this is for them.”

The British divers were competing in Rome less than two weeks since completing their programme at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games where Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix and Noah Williams represented England and Grace Reid as well as James Heatly dove for Scotland.

British divers are expected to be major medal winners at Roma 2022 – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

“I’m really happy to start the event with the team event with amazing team-mates,” said Spendolini-Sirieix, who won two Commonwealth titles. “I’m really please to start with solid diving and really promising so really excited to see what we can do this week.”