NORTH YORKSHIRE diver Jack Laugher is targeting a multiple medal haul at this summer's Commonwealth Games after claiming two national titles at this weekend's British Gas National Cup in Southend.
Laugher, who is from Ripon, won the 1m and 3m springboard titles as he outperformed rival Tom Daley to make himself a leading contender for more success at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The 19-year-old failed to live up to his potential in the 2012 Olympics in London, but has gone from strength to strength in the last 18 months and is now firmly established as one of the leading springboard divers in the world.
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“I've been feeling really confident for these National Championships and am really pleased with how they've gone,” said Laugher. “Normally I don't focus on the 1m as much and it's more of a warm-up event, but this year is a Commonwealth year and I'm going to knuckle down and take it really seriously. Hopefully, I can win some medals.
The 1m title was Laugher's first of the weekend, and the City of Leeds diver didn't drop below the 60-point mark in any of the rounds.
His best dive came in the third round, with his reverse two-and-a-half somersaults tucked earning a score of 75.00, and his overall score of 445.10 left him well clear of Oliver Dingley and James Denny, who won silver and bronze respectively.
“I scored a PB in the morning with my 408, which was four points better than before,” said Laugher. “Then in the final I absolutely smashed it to score 445. That's a massive jump up from prelim to final.”
Laugher returned to action in the 3m final and claimed his second gold medal as he secured the 3m title for the third year in a row.
Having worked on a new reverse dive in the off season, the teenager excelled with a superb second-round dive (reverse three-and-a-half somersaults tucked) that secured a mark of 94.50.
Again, his scores never dropped below the 60-point mark, and he eventually finished on a total of 480.60, well clear of his rivals, but agonisingly short of the golden 500-point mark.
“I almost scored 500, and 500 is my goal,” said Laugher. “That's what I want to get to with my performances. I am a bit disappointed because it was in reach, but I am all right.
“To be able to come to a competition like this and perform really well on 1m and 3m, I have done well even with the bad preparation that I have had.”
Laugher also claimed a bronze medal as he made a rare appearance in the 3m synchro competition alongside Denny.