The mixed team event shows what can happen when the strongest diving nations in the world put together four of its best athletes in 3m, 10m, and mixed synchro and let them try to amass as many points as possible over six rounds of diving.

On Friday night in Montreal, a group of four from China claimed victory over eight other teams to win the first gold medal of the 2024 World Cup series. China’s winning total, 506.35 points, was 68.30 points ahead of runner-up Great Britain, the reigning world champions. Australia placed third, just as it had at the World Championships four weeks ago, this time trailing the victors by 100.65 points.

Image Source: Antoine Saito, World Aquatics

At the start of the night, Chen Yiwen, 24, and Wang Zongyuan, 22, gave China an early lead with their individual 3m dives. Notably, Wang’s reverse 1½ with 3½ twists earned 91.00 points, the second-highest score of the night.  Next, Chen partnered with Yang Hao, 26, for a 3m mixed synchro dive that extended China’s lead over Australia and USA who were in second and third place at the midpoint of the contest.

Next, 18-year-old Chen Yuxi added 89.10 points to China’s tally with her giant armstand back triple somersault on the 10m platform, followed by Yang Hao’s forward 4½ which earned 94.35 points, the high score of the night.

With one dive to go, Great Britain had leapfrogged Australia into second place, thanks to clean dives by the same athletes who closed out Great Britain’s gold-medal run at the World Championships in Doha: Andrea Spendolini Sirieix, 19, and Tom Daley, 29.

On the last dive, Australia hoped the 2023 men’s platform world champion Cassiel Rousseau and his female compatriot Nikita Hains could eclipse their friendly Commonwealth rivals in mixed synchro, but 6.5s and 7.0s weren’t enough, and the Australian's took third, 8.65 points ahead of fourth-place finishers from the USA.  

It’s worth noting that China did not contest the mixed team event at the 2024 World Championships so after Friday night’s victory, Chen Yiwen said, “I think I was getting my emotions too high tonight. In the team event, you think a lot – of your teammate and everything. In individual [events], you’re not thinking so it’s kind of a relief to be finished [with team] early.”

Silver medalist Yasmin Harper of Great Britain also sat out the team event in Doha, but still enjoyed the fact that it was the first event in Montreal. “For me, it’s quite nice to do an event before my [3m women’s] synchro competition on Sunday,” she said.

All the medalists seemed to agree, however, that it was a quick turnaround from Doha. Tom Daley who made three of the six dives in both Doha’s and Montreal’s team event said that, in the interim, he flew from Qatar to Los Angeles for 10 days, where he raises two sons and trains with the UCLA college team. “I got to see my little boys [in California] and got here Sunday,” he said. “It’s only a three-hour time difference for me, so not too bad.”

In contrast, Daley’s teammate, Spendolini Sirieix said, “I’m tired. I did [individual 10m] prelims this morning, had a one-hour break, then trained again for team event, so it’s been a very-very long day. I’m just excited to go back into my bed but, you know, team event is always fun. I’m happy that we managed to secure that medal.”

But the quote of the night came from Australian jokester Li Shixin, 36, who said – to the amusement of his three bronze-medal teammates – 

“I still feel like I’m in Doha. Old man’s recovery is very slow. But it’s a team competition. Everyone must overcome.”
By Li Shixin