London 2016 LEN European Championships – Day 2

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Ischenko’s reign goes on, Kvasha and the Germans shine in the diving pool

Natalia Ishchenko proved that she is still the queen of synchro, pulling out a clean win once more in the solo free. The first non-Russian gold in London went to Ukraine’s Illya Kvasha, who clinched the 1m title in diving, while Germany’s Maria Kurjo and My Phan won the women’s 10m synchro amidst dramatic circumstances.

The Russians’ golden series continued in the afternoon of Day 2 – though any other outcome would have brought the sky down perhaps. Natalia Ishchenko’s solo free routine is so outstanding that not even miracles would help her rivals to catch her in the classification. And the undisputed queen of the discipline – she returned last year after giving birth to her first baby – thought that this London performance of the same routine had been even better than the one she had staged in Kazan. A quite stylish way to earn her 10th European title.

Anna Voloshyna’s silver was also a well-deserved one, the Ukrainian moving one grade higher than in Berlin. A rather tiny margin, 0.2 points separated Italy’s Linda Cerruti and Spain’s Cristina Salvador as the Italian got the bronze despite a deduction for missing the time-limit for the podium part by a second – but her performance was good enough to come third.

The evening brought the first non-Russian win, courtesy of Illya Kvasha, the Ukrainian ‘rubber man’, specialist of the 1m springboard. This was his 6th title in this event, in the meantime he came second twice at the World Championships in 2013 and 2015. This day he offered his best, his dives were really convincing. It was a well-balanced overall performance from Kvasha, each mark was between 7.0 and 9.0 but mostly 7.5-8.0 and higher. Italy’s Giovanni Tocci rose to the occasion, after a modest start his last three dives were outstanding. The last attempt was the only 80+ pointer of the evening (83.70), and that put him into second place. Austria also earned a medal as Constantin Blaha also came up with six fine attempts without any major error.

The late-night show turned into a real drama: Germany’s Maria Kurjo and My Phan came from behind to win the race in the very last round. In fact, they were far behind, sat in 4th place after the penultimate round but as the top three all committed smaller or bigger mistakes they found themselves atop. The Brits were set to take the hosts’ first gold but after leading into the final round they failed to deliver on the last dive, Tonia Couch’s horrendous dive cost them even the podium as they were dropped to fifth. After that Hungary’s Villo Kormos and Zsofia Reisinger found themselves again on the podium after Berlin 2014 and Rostock 2015, quite a feat for a nation still without a proper indoor diving facility.

For detailed results please visit LEN’s renewed website: www.len.eu

Press release from LEN, images courtesy of Deepbluemedia

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