Ukraine celebrates double diving gold on national Independence Day

By Nick Hope
Aquatics correspondent in Rijeka

Mark Hrytsenko dedicated his Boys 3m springboard European Junior Diving Championships gold medal to his nation, on Ukraine’s Independence Day.

Also celebrating a title on the penultimate day of Rijeka 2023 in Croatia was team-mate Karina Hlyzhina (Girls B platform) as well as British duo Evie Smith and Tilly Brown (Girls A/B 3m synchro).

The 24 August Ukraine celebrates the Declaration of Independence made in 1991 which officially separated the state from the Soviet Union.

The 3m result was also highly significant to Hrystenko who 24 hours earlier has finished second in the Boys platform event, after which he spoke of his determination to win the 3m title.

He achieved a total of 388.75 to claim the victory, with Great Britain’s Oliver Heath (370.65) added 3m silver to his 1m gold earlier in the competition, while Lithuanian Martynas Lisauskas took bronze (365.10).

“Today is a very big celebration (in Ukraine) for Independence Day so this medal I won for Ukraine and those would fought for an independent Ukraine,” he told LEN.

Karina Hlyzhina had already won gold medals in the Girls B 3m and Mixed Team events earlier in the week and although she was in second after two of the three rounds in the Girls B platform final, she secured another victory with an overall total of 298.35.

Matilde Marzetti of Italy took second (292.30), while Ukraine secured another medal with Sofia Vystavkina (288.00) third.

The last event of the penultimate day of Rijeka 2023 was the Girls A/B 3m synchro final.
Hlyzhina was on course for a fourth medal, but an error with her partner Diana Karnafel in the final routine saw them slip out of contention.

Great Britain’s Evie Smith and Tilly Brown were the strongest pairing in the final though, making up for self-confessed “hard to take” performances in their individual event 24 hours earlier, by dominated the synchronised event.

They scored a combined 268.80 from their five rounds to secure a commanding victory.

“We’re so proud and happy because we’ve trained so hard for this,” said Smith.

Brown added; “It’s good to show that consistency and that will definitely give us a bit more confidence.”

Italian individual Girls A 3m gold and silver medallists Elisa Pizzini and Rebecca Ciancaglini of Italy (231.00) were second with Swedish pair Anna Torstensson and Signe Stahl achieving a total of 230.40 to claim bronze.

“We are really tired at the end of the competition, but it was fun to dive together and we hadn’t expected a medal, so it’s been another great day for us,” said Ciancaglini.

Torstensson added; “This is really special and we’re really happy because we did not expect this and it’s a great moment for us and for Sweden.”

Each session from Rijeka 2023 can be followed live on the LEN YouTube Channel, while live scores can be accessed HERE.

For further information about the competition, head to the official Rijeka 2023 website.