HARROGATE'S Jack Laugher successfully defended his British 3m springboard title at the British Gas Diving Championships in Plymouth.
Laugher, who won two gold medals at the World Junior Championships at the end of last year, has now claimed the last three national 3m springboard titles to underline his pre-eminence in the discipline.
The 18-year-old, who finished seventh at the 2011 senior World Championships, pulled clear in the second half of the competition, scoring 448.10 to eventually finish more than 60 points ahead of the rest of the field. Laugher has made a number of changes to his routine for the forthcoming season, but it was two of his more familiar dives where he showed his class at the weekend, scoring 86.70 for his opening twist dive and 93.10 for his most difficult dive, a forward four-and-a-half somersaults with tuck.
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The youngster has been no stranger to success in recent years, but claims his latest national victory was his most enjoyable to date.
“Out of the three, this is probably the one I'm most proud of,” said Laugher. “This is the one where I've put in new dives and I've done front four-and-a-half and inward three-and-a-half in the same list for the first time.
“The inward was consistent in both prelims and finals, and the front was my highest score in both, so I'm over the moon with them.
“I've only been working on this list for about a month so it's really new, but it's definitely got potential. I'm not competing much until the end of the year so hopefully I'll have got it good in time for the Worlds, if I'm selected.”
Southend's Oliver Dingley took the silver medal behind Laugher, with Cambridge's Daniel Goodfellow claiming his first individual medal at senior national level as he won bronze.
The result was a reverse of the placings in the 1m springboard event from the opening day of competition, with Laugher finishing second in that discipline behind Dingley.
Dingley scored 385.30 to win gold, with Laugher finishing on 374.75 in an event that is not his primary focus for the season.
“I was relieved at that,” said Dingley, who also won 1m gold in 2011. “It was about keeping my cool and thankfully that paid off for me. I'm really happy with that performance.
“I had Jack one side of me and Chris (Mears, a former Olympic finalist) the other side of me – they're both very good divers but I managed to keep my cool in that little group.”