Australia’s Alysha Koloi, Great Britain Strike Diving Gold to Open Worlds

Australia’s Alysha Koloi, Great Britain Strike Diving Gold to Open Worlds

Australia’s Alysha Koloi and the Great Britain team earned gold medals on the first day of the 2024 Doha World Championships.

The first of nine days of competition at the Hamad Aquatic Centre brought new names to the top of the podium, with the Chinese powerhouse largely absent this week. That means medals are up for grabs, and the Brits and Australians stepped up with two medals on the opening day, with finals of the women’s 1-meter springboard and the 3-meter/10-meter mixed team event.

The 22-year-old Koloi, making her Worlds debut, was sixth after prelims of the 1-meter and fourth after two rounds of prelims. But she surged to the front in the fifth round, scoring 54.60 points on her 5333D to nudge four points ahead of Egypt’s Maha Amer.

Koloi delivered 53.30 points on her final dive, a 105B, to score 260.50 points. She was 3.25 points up on Great Britain’s Grace Reid. Amer, the University of Florida diver who was first in every round of prelims and led through four rounds, slipped to third but still got a medal.

“I’m still shocked,” Koloi told Diving Australia. “I put my head down and did my competition as usual and this is a big surprise. It’s my first worlds. I’m stoked.”

Germany’s Jette Muller took home fourth. Americans finished sixth and seventh. Hailey Hernandez was 10.90 points off the podium with 249.60 points, after barely scraping into finals in 11th in prelims. Alison Gibson finished seventh.

The mixed team event went to Great Britain’s foursome of Daniel Goodellow, Tom Daley, Scarlett Mew Jensen and Andrea Spendolini Sirieix with 421.85 points, just shy of nine clear of Mexico.

Great Britian’s, from left, Tom Daley, Scarlett Mew Jensen, Andrea Spendolini Sirieix and Daniel Goodfellow;
Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Britain prevailed in a wild back-and-forth affair. It was third after one round and went to the lead in the third with the 3-meter 107B synchro dive of Daley and Mew Jensen scoring 72.85 points. Spendolini Siriex tallied 72.85 on the fourth round on platform to give Britain a 32.85-point edge over second-place Mexico.

They would need all of that cushion in the fifth round, when Randal Willars Valdez absolutely nailed his 109B for 98.40 points. Britain’s fifth dive from Daley was the fourth-best of the ground, keeping them within a point.

Daley and Spendolini Sirieix needed something special to win it in the final dive. They delivered the best result of the round, scoring 76.80 points. Willars Valdez and Gabriela Agundez Garcia had the third-best dive, more than nine points back to solidify silver. Jahir Ocampo and Aranza Vazquez Montano rounded out the foursome.

For Daley, it’s his seventh career Worlds medal and fourth gold.

“The strength of British Diving at the moment is absolutely incredible, the depth that we have in the sport is like it’s never been,” Daley told British Swimming. “Andy (Andrea) up on 10m is doing incredible things, Scarlett down on the springboard is doing awesome things, and Dan has already qualified his Olympic spot, so he’s come here to do one dive and he’s world champion!”

Australia finished third to add a second medal on the day. The squad comprised Shixin Li, Cassiel Rousseau, Nikita Hains and Maddison Keeney. The Aussies were last after one round, but Li had the best dive of the second round, and the Aussie were in medal position after five rounds when Rousseau scored 85.10 points on his 109C.

The U.S. was never in medal position, finishing fifth, some 40 points behind the Aussies. Lyle Yost, Brandon Loschiavo, Sarah Bacon and Katrina Young made up that squad.

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