Belgrade 2024: Great Britain claim second title, Andrzej Rzeszutek lands first gold for Poland

Published On: June 20, 2024

Credit to:  European Aquatics

Desharne Bent-Ashmeil is enjoying an outstanding run at the European Aquatics Championships Belgrade 2024. After coming first in the Mixed 3m Synchro, she added another gold in the Women’s 3m Synchro with Amy Rollinson to land another diving title for Great Britain. The men’s first individual event, the 1m Springboard final, saw a Polish–Italian duel with Andrzej Rzeszutek coming out on top and edging out Italy’s Matteo Santoro by 2.70 points.

Consistency was the key in the women’s 3m synchro event. Bent-Ashmeil and Rollinson not only put together a solid programme with three 3.0DD dives but they also performed them without bigger mistakes.

All but two of their scores ranged between 6.0 and 7.5s (even an 8.0 appeared on the board in the last round) and that gave them necessary edge over Sweden’s Nina Janmyr and Elna Widerstrom who occupied top spot in the penultimate round thanks to their 62 pointer.

And they did well in the last round too but the DD did not favour them with a 2.7 while the Great Britain duo left their best to the last with a 3.0 which earned them the highest score of the afternoon, 64.80 points and a winning gap of 10.35 points.

Great Britain took the title with 269.10pts ahead of Sweden who earned 258.75.

Credit to: European Aquatics

It was a back-to-back success for Bent-Ashmeil after her triumph in the Mixed 3m Synchro.

She said: “It was about being consistent and doing our best, you know.”

Rollinson explained the reason behind their success, saying: “We’ve kind of come together a couple of years ago and found out that our techniques matched well.

“Here there was the first time we had a proper practice together as we both were focusing on our individual events but we also found that if we do that we can do the synchro better.”

Silver medallist Janmyr said: “Well, we dove together as juniors, then we had a little break, but we’ve recently got together again. We didn’t expect this at all. We got a really good start it just felt great.”

The race for bronze was decided by a tiny margin of 0.93 points as Nais Gillet and Juliette Landi of France swapped ranks with Germany’s Lotti Hubert and Jana Rother, scoring 243.33 to 242.40.

Landi looked ahead to a home Games in Paris, saying: “It’s exciting and amazing as we’ve not been in synchro for long. It’s crazy that we are on the podium.

“We had a couple of good dives which is great just weeks before the Olympic Games.”

Ukraine’s experienced duo of Viktoriya Kesiar and Anna Pysmenska were unable to execute their top dives at the expected level which left them out of the contest.

Italy’s Matile Borello and Elettra Neroni had an even worse afternoon as they led for three rounds before falling apart.

Credit to: European Aquatics

The men’s 1m Springboard was a Polish-Italian affair from the outset.

For five rounds, the Poles, Rzeszutek and Kacper Lesiak, and the Italians, Santoro and Stefano Belotti came up with quality dives.

Santoro’s second most difficult jump earned him a final-high 76 points and rocketed him to first place where he remained until the last round.

Rzeszutek was the closest challenger but ranks changed from round to round with Lesiak moving up to the second in Round 4 after a couple of brilliant attempts with 8.0s flashing on the scoreboard.

Rzeszutek hit back with another 70+ dive in the penultimate round which put him virtually in pole position as Santoro left a really easy one to the last (2.3DD, a rarity at this level) and even if he executed it well, the 48 points he got were not enough to finish atop.

Rzeszutek didn’t miss his last one and managed to overtake the Italian by 2.70 points with 394.40pts to 391.70.

“It’s amazing, can’t really describe how I feel,” said Rzeszutek. “It took a very long time to get here – but finally I’m on the top of the podium.

“Every dive was really important since those two guys from Italy they were amazing. My teammate Kacper was also really close to the podium so it was a great competition.”

Santoro added: “I feel really good, it was a great competition. This medal means a lot for me as I’m not in a good shape physically. I’m happy with my performance as my goal was to have fun and I had fun.”

Credit to: European Aquatics

For the bronze, it was even closer. Agonisingly close, indeed – and here Belotti and Lesiak lost their composure somewhat.

The Italian’s dive was still a bit better while Lesiak made his only bigger mistake, indeed, that was the worst attempt in the last round in the whole field – bad enough to blow his lead and lose the bronze by 0.20 points.

Belotti took the bronze with 370.50 with Lesiak agonisingly close with 370.30.

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