NSWIS Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship holder, Brittany O’Brien has won the silver medal in the women’s 1m springboard diving while fellow NSWIS scholarship holder Sam Fricker has won the bronze in the men’s 3m synchronised springboard at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Twenty-four-year-old Brittany, who transitioned from the 10m platform event to the 3m and 1m springboard events only two years ago, has demonstrated why she made the right decision.
“I was going to quit entirely, but my coach convinced me to go to springboard (from the platform) and here I am,” she told reporters at Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
Mia Vallee from Canada won the gold medal and Amy Rollinson the bronze while fellow Aussie team mate Georgia Sheehan finished fifth and NSWIS scholarship holder Esther Qin finished in sixth place, missing her shot at a third-straight bronze in the event when her last dive missed the mark.
Brittany nailed a reverse two-and-a-half somersault with her fourth effort to surge from 19 points behind and started the final round level with the Canadian.
Mia had the event’s last dive and delivered, but Brittany was happy with second considering her mindset 12 months ago. She had improved from her 2018 Commonwealth Games results having earned a sixth place finish in the women’s 10m synchronised event as well as seventh place in the women’s 10m platform individual final.
“It was more mental; I would just stand there (on the platform) and cry. It was a year ago and I was very done with diving, apparently not (anymore).”
Earlier Sam Fricker thanked his partner and “coolest man ever” Shixin Li after they combined for a surprise bronze in the three-metre synchronised springboard final.
Competing together internationally for the first time, 20-year-old Sam and former world champion Shixin, 34, produced a clutch final effort to hang on to third.
The pair notched 374.52 points across six dives, benefiting when their Malaysian rivals clipped the springboard on their fifth dive to knock them out of medal contention.
England pair Anthony Harding and Jack Laugher (438.33) were a class above while a second Malaysian team claimed silver.
Sam said Shixin had helped his composure.
“He was like ‘stay calm … hold it together and execute’,” Sam said.
“You’ve got to calm me down, I get fired up. He’s the coolest man ever, super chilled, very relaxed and pulls me into his bubble.”
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