LONDON 2012: 'Gutted' Couch determined to focus on synchro success
TONIA Couch is determined to put the controversy of not being picked for an individual spot at London 2012 behind her and focus on getting an Olympic medal with synchro partner Sarah Barrow.
CONFIDENT: Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow are looking to add an Olympic 10m synchro diving medal to their historic European title
The 23-year-old lost an appeal against the decision of British Diving’s performance director Alexei Evangulov not to put her forward for the 10m solo dive, despite finishing ahead of eventual pick Monique Gladding at the UK trials last month.
But the Plymouth-based diver, who finished eighth in the 10m platform in Beijing in 2008 – the best result by a British woman for 20 years - is keen to build on what she says has been her best year in the sport.
“I'm absolutely gutted to not be selected individually, but I've put it behind me,” she said.
“I did have the best year I've ever had and I don't really know why I'm not doing individual because I've proved all year round I can do both events, and in the Olympic the synchro is one week before the individual so I can have time to focus on synchro and then do my individual after, yet I was still told no.
“I'm gutted but I'm going to put it to one side now and focus on that synchro and hopefully get that medal.
“Monique is a good friend of mine so it's not an issue that she was selected ahead of me. Good for her, I wish her the best of luck.”
While she admits her last Olympics was all about the experience, Couch and Barrow are in record-breaking form this year becoming GB’s first World Cup medallists in history with bronze before sealing GB's first female European title for 74 years with gold in Eindhoven.
They beat the personal best set in Holland at the UK Trials last month, and Couch believes there is still room for improvement at the Olympic Aquatics Centre.
“We're doing well, it's the best year we've ever had so hopefully it goes through to the London Games,” said Couch .
“We could probably beat the record we made and go higher again because I did one dive which was good but I've done it better at the trials. I was a tiny bit short and got 6.5 instead of 8. If I went and got 8 we would have scored a lot higher, but I'm going to save it for the Games.
“I think we've done ourselves proud this year. I'm confident I can perform in the Olympics in London. The World Cup was crazy how many people were cheering us on. In the Olympics there are going to be a load more people – it's going to be ten times louder and bigger.”
And the young team have been backed by 2004 silver medallist Peter Waterfield, who will be competing in his fourth Games when he partners Tom Daley in the 10m synchro - one of the hottest tickets at the Olympics.
“They are going along really well and picked up some medals so they’ll be fancying their chances,” said Waterfield.
“We’ve all been performing well over the past few years so we are all going to the Games with great confidence.”
© Sportsbeat 2012