Houlden hails England diving clean sweep

Jordan Houlden celebrated a memorable all-England podium with Dan Goodfellow and Jack Laugher as he clinched Commonwealth Games silver in the men’s 3m springboard.

The 24-year-old from Sheffield finished second behind Goodfellow in Birmingham as defending champion Laugher had to settle for bronze after almost missing out on the final completely due to failing his first dive in the morning’s preliminaries due to nerves.

Houlden’s score of 465.15 was just 19.30 points of the winning total and despite a disappointing last dive costing him gold, he said he was delighted with his overall performance.

“Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my performance. Nailing everything and then coming up to the front four and a half it was potentially a gold as well if I nailed that. But that’s diving,” he said.

“It’s special, especially with the team we’ve got out there. They’ve got very high caliber of dives. They can do them very well. Jack Laugher, Olympic medallist, Dan Goodfellow – he can really dive as well. Very good indeed. A 1-2-3, you just can’t believe it.

“It’s beyond belief really. I couldn’t expect anymore. It’s incredible. The crowd went crazy. I fed off the crowd. It was energetic out there. I loved every second of it.

“I was a bit like, I think I might have messed that up. I felt like I got it onto my head, so it was good enough. It would’ve been better to nail the dive.”

This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.

Laugher initially managed to navigate the nerves that had plagued his morning session, showing he is not a champion for nothing as he took the halfway lead with a third dive of 86.70.

Goodfellow and Houlden were both breathing down his neck, though, and Laugher left the door wide open with his fifth dive as a score of 53.20 cost him the chance to defend his title.

And 25-year-old Goodfellow needed no second invitation, securing his first solo major gold medal with a total of 484.45 points to finish ahead of Houlden (465.15) and Laugher (462.30).

“It’s amazing. I can’t remember the last time there was an England 1-2-3 in diving at the Commonwealth Games,” said Goodfellow.

“I branched away from the synchro to the individual, so I’m taking full responsibility for my own diving. Last time at the Commonwealth Games, I won gold in the 10m synchro so it’s a completely different event and completely different board.

“I’ve had a bit of a rough year so to come and perform well under pressure in front of a home crowd, I couldn’t ask for anymore.

“I missed out on individual selection last year because I missed that dive under pressure. But I’ve kept the same list order and there’s not much bigger pressure than doing it for a gold medal in front of a home crowd. It makes me feel better I’ve done that now.”

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