With just five weeks since the FINA World Championships came to an end, the Old World's most established and rising star divers return to the springboards and platforms for the European Aquatics Championships in Rome. Wondering what one can expect - and who could rip some unexpected dives? Don't worry, we got you covered.
Setting the Scene
There's a total of 39 medals on tap across 13 diving events – 1m, 3m springboard, 10m platform, 3m and 10m synchro, each for men and women, as well as the team event and the mixed synchronised events on the 3m springboard as well as the 10m platform – that will be earned in the fabled Foro Italico sports complex.
The 3m Springboard and 10m Platform diving events trace their roots on the European Aquatic Championships sports programme all the way back to the event's first edition in Budapest (HUN). That first year featured just the men's category, with the women's competition joining one year later in Bologna ITA).
Synchronised diving events were introduced to the European Championships for the first time in 1997. The team event – an official European Championship event since 2012 – will be held for the tenth time, with the new rules (four divers instead of two) applying for the third consecutive championships. The mixed synchronised events, meanwhile, made their premiere at the London 2016 edition of the European Aquatics Championships.
Just like in swimming, this is going to be the first diving Europeans held outdoors since 2010, and the first major championship under the (hopeful) blue skies since Barcelona hosted the FINA World Championships in 2013.
The Usual Suspects
Athletes from hosts Italy, Great Britain, Germany and Ukraine will contest all 13 events. Russia, which clinched the top spot in the medal rankings at the last four European editions in the diving events, is not competing. Likely medal hopefuls could also come from athletes representing France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
With Tom Daley taking a competitive sabbatical following last summer's Tokyo Olympic Games and receiving the title of OBE (the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his services to his sport, fight for the rights of marginalised people and charitable works, look for wunderkind Oleksii Sereda to shine in the platform events. The then 13-year-old Ukrainian took the European platform title in Kyiv in 2019 in front of a home crowd. Sereda is coming off a successful 19th FINA World Championships where he finished second with teammate Sofiia Lyskun in the Mixed Synchro 10m event. At those global championships, the Chinese divers did something never done before: sweeping all the gold medals available in diving, going a perfect 13-for-13.
British Divers Coming Back from Birmingham with the Commonwealth Games Goods
Divers from Great Britain had the added challenge of competing in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (GBR) for their respective nations – England and Scotland – less than two weeks ago.
Jack Laugher is the leading name in their line-up. The 27-year-old won the Synchronised 3m Springboard gold and individual silver Rio 2016 before completing his set of medals with individual bronze at Tokyo 2020.
He's coming off a successful run of dives in Birmingham where he claimed two golds and a bronze - as well as overcoming a bit of adversity. A three-time European champion, Laugher will compete in the 1m, 3m and 3m synchro events at Roma 2022.
Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix enjoyed an impressive breakout year in 2021 where she competed at the Olympic Games at 16 and a year on heads to Rome fresh from two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games with England.
With fellow Team GB Olympic champ Matty Lee taking a break from the competition alongside teammate Tom Daley, look for Noah Williams - who teamed up to win gold with Lee at the Commonwealths - to seek individual success in Italy.
Grace Reid and Lois Toulson are among a host of British divers seeking to add further European honours to their medal collections.
Ukraine Brimming with Youth and Experience
Along with the aforementioned Oleksii Sereda, Ukraine's diving contingent is bolstered by the experienced duos of Oleg Kolodiy and Oleksandr Horshkovozov as well as Sofiia Lyskun and Kseniia Bailo.
Host Italy Bringing Title Defense to Foro Italico
Italy boasts both the largest team and with Elena Bertocchi they possess a precious commodity: the defending 1m champion from the Budapest 2020 edition of the Europeans.
19-year-old Chiara Pellacani is a two-time European gold medallists who won five medals at the Budapest 2020 European Championships. Pellacani teamed up with Matteo Santoro to take mixed synchronised 3m springboard silver at the FINA World Championships in Budapest.
Sarah Jodoin di Maria is another one to watch from their impressive line-up.
Germany Chasing Performances from its Past
Since both Patrick Hausding, the most successful diver in the history of the European Championships with 15 European titles, and Martin Wolfram, 10m European Champion in 2015, retired after the Tokyo Games, the 27-year-old Tina Punzel is the most experienced diver in a young squad.
She will try to defend her titles in the individual and the synchro 3m event. A further medal candidate could be Timo Barthel, although his partner Lars Ruediger, with whom he recently achieved bronze in the synchro 3m event at the Worlds in Budapest, had to withdraw due to a finger injury.
Keep Your Eye On
After winning Switzerland's first-ever diving medal in history in 2017 with the silver in the women’s 3m event, Michelle Heimberg has been on a bit of a European medal haul. Heimberg has since claimed another bronze together with Jonathan Suckow in the mixed 3m synchro event in Kyiv 2019. She then won silver in the women’s 1m event in 2021.
France has a group of promising young divers, highlighted by Jules Boyer and the sisters Jade and Nais Gillet, who successfully changed from gymnastics to diving.
Where to Watch & Get Your Results
All set for the opening diving event of #LENRoma2022 the 6-strong Team Event Final 🔥.— Nick Hope - the athlete’s journalist 👨💻🏊🏻♂️ (@NickHopeTV) August 15, 2022
New rules for 2022 - each team is made up of 4 rather than 2 divers & will take place over 6 rounds.
🇬🇧 represented by Grace Reid, Noah Williams, Andrea Spendolino-Sirieix & James Heatly 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/nrqMrY2NZq