Jack Laugher has already shown he means business in the run up to the Rio Olympics, but the Harrogate diver insists there is still plenty more to come.
After falling narrowly short of the podium in the opening Diving World Series round in Beijing, Laugher more than made up for it a week later as the competition rolled into Dubai.
Up to that point, Chinese divers had claimed all 15 gold medals on offer but Laugher changed all that, storming to the top step of the 3m springboard podium.
It was not only the 20-year-old’s first World Series gold but it was also Britain’s maiden individual 3m gold, Laugher claiming the win in some style too, after leading from the start to push China’s Chong He and Yuan Cao into second and third respectively.
Laugher racked up a personal best score of 564.35 points in the process but, with the World Championships in Russia still to come this summer, he is in no mood to rest on his laurels – especially when there is a world record in his sights.
“It was a fantastic achievement in Dubai and I was really happy but it’s still early on in the season,” he said. “I still know I have a lot of things to work on. I’m very excited for the season ahead. It’s a great start, to get gold in the second competition and gives me a lot of confidence.
“But there’s still a long way to go until the World Championships. I’m going to be working just as hard to keep improving.”
Adding, “The worlds are such a pivotal event towards the Olympics and I really want to have a good Championships, so it’s about making sure I peak for that.
“It was fantastic to be able to beat the Chinese, especially Chong He. I remember he was my idol growing up so to be able to get the better of him in such a competition was great.
“It was great to get a personal best but saying that I was only eight points off the World Record. Like I said before, I still think there are improvements to be made in my routine still. So I think that getting that world record is achievable.”
Before Laugher can even entertain thoughts of starring in Russia, the Diving World Series continues to rumble on with the London leg arriving in the capital on 1 May.
The London Aquatics Centre holds special memories for Laugher as it was the first pool he and synchro partner Chris Mears competed in together at the top level, and the City of Leeds ace can’t wait to get back out in front of a home crowd.
“I’m really excited to get to London,” he explains. “It was the first competition me and Chris did synchro together at that level so it will be great to go back and see how we can do.
“The venue is very special and I’ll have my family and friends in the crowd. I love the pool and it’ll be great to come there straight off of Russia.”
“In terms of the synchro, it’s a bit annoying to have missed out on the medals in the first two World Series events, finishing fourth each time,” he adds. “But we are trying out a new strategy slightly. We are both diving really well individually so those performances give us confidence going into the rest of the season.”
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