Swain secures GB Olympic spot
PUBLISHED: 10:14 22 February 2008 | UPDATED: 22:27 26 October 2009
INTERNATIONAL diver Ben Swain has secured Olympic qualification for Great Britain in the men s 3m synchro event. Former WGC schoolboy Swain, whose family still lives in Welwyn, and synchro partner Nick Robinson-Baker finished fourth on day one of the FIN
INTERNATIONAL diver Ben Swain has secured Olympic qualification for Great Britain in the men's 3m synchro event.
Former WGC schoolboy Swain, whose family still lives in Welwyn, and synchro partner Nick Robinson-Baker finished fourth on day one of the FINA World Cup in Beijing on Tuesday to gain GB Olympic qualification.
The duo delivered a clear message to the upper echelons of the diving world order in announcing themselves as real Olympic contenders with a powerful display.
The British pair, who dive for the City of Sheffield club, gave the performance of their careers to date in the technical synchro event.
What makes their achievement even more impressive is that their synchronised partnership is barely a year old.
In the highest quality of company, former Beaumont Academy diver Swain, 21, and Robinson-Baker showed real nerve, ability and understanding under intense pressure to rise through the world rankings for a fourth place finish, just two points off bronze.
Swain, who attended Monk's Walk School, and Robinson-Baker came through the preliminary round of 22 teams to qualify 11th in the final 12 at the Water Cube, home of the aquatic events for the 2008 Olympics.
From their first dive of the final, they cut through the field with a display fuelled by confidence.
They finished the second and third rounds in fourth place following a well executed forward three-and-a-half somersault in the pike position before slipping to fifth on the next round.
Unnerved, they saved their best to the very end to mount a challenge for a medal, while World Championship medallists Germany and the likes of highly fancied Australia, the Ukraine and the USA failed to make an impression on their points tally.
A reverse two-and-a-half, with one-and-a-half twists put the Brits on the same score as Russian legends Dmitry Sautin and Yuriy Kunakov.
With one dive to go and despite pushing them to the limit with a forward two-and-a-half with two twists that drew a score of 81.60, the experience of Sautin kept the Russians on the podium.
Gold went to Chinese favourites Wang Feng and Qin Kai with 462.12.
The Russians took silver with 418.65 and the Canadian pair of Alexandre Despatie and Arturo Miranda snatched bronze with 416.94.
The British pair were just short of a medal with 414.87, but comfortably ahead of the fifth-placed Ukrainians.