Diving double-act rises above TV's 'top bombing' ad to give Britain some badly needed success

To many armchair sports fans an appreciation of competitive diving has seldom stretched beyond comedian Peter Kay's "top bombing" in a beer commercial.

To many armchair sports fans an appreciation of competitive diving has seldom stretched beyond comedian Peter Kay's "top bombing" in a beer commercial.

As a niche aquatic sport which hinges on an arcane judging system and has failed to produce a British Olympic medal for more than 40 years, it has been easily made into a figure of fun.

However, such cynicism was brushed aside yesterday as Peter Waterfield and Leon Taylor reflected on their silver medal in the synchronised diving, which registered the British team's only success on Saturday's opening day of the Games.

In fact, it was the only victory for Britain in a disastrous weekend that saw: Tim Henman lose in the first round of the tennis; Sarah Price and Katy Sexton fail to qualify for the final in the 100m backstroke; gymnast Beth Tweddle fail to go through to the next round; Nicole Cook come fifth in the women's cycling road race; Sydney hero Ian Peel fail to qualify for the trap final in the shooting; Georgina Singleton, going for bronze in the women's 52kg judo competition, lose in the repercharge final; and Craig Fallon out in the first round of the 60kg judo.

The diving pair, however, who were unmistakable on the board with a difference in height of almost half a foot, finished just behind the dominant Chinese in the 10m synchronised event which requires all the skill of a solo dive with the added demand of having to perform the descent in unison.

They now hope their achievements will see synchronised diving, introduced in Sydney four years ago, emerge from its association with the widely lampooned synchronised swimming of rictus grins and waterproof make-up. "It's great to get a minority sport in the limelight and show people what it takes to win a gold medal and raise interest in what we do," said Taylor, 26.

Their medal feat on Saturday night was all the more impressive because of the added pressure of carrying the final British medal hope on day one and diving after the Greek pair whose consistently low marks prompted the crowd to jeer the judges.

In their final dive the nerves appeared to show and they nearly lost second place to the Australians by performing a staggered dive frowned upon by judges. "If we had got the timing better we could have been winners," said Waterfield.

The silver medal represents the highlight in a partnership that started nine years ago when coaches, undeterred by their height difference, put them together at a training camp after noticing similarities in technique. Taylor, from Sheffield, won silver in the 10m solo event at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester while Waterfield, 23, from Southampton, claimed gold. Both men have been fired by an ambition to win at Athens since they were edged into fourth place in Sydney in a judging system which it was claimed favoured the goliath nations of diving such as Germany, China and the United States.

The couple's medal success is the first sign of success from changes bordering on the revolutionary in British aquatic sports following the nadir of Sydney 2000. British Olympic bosses have hired the Australian swimming guru Bill Sweetenham, and his compatriot Steve Foley has been pushing for success in diving events by drilling his team of seven. Taylor and Waterfield train six hours a day for six days a week but, because they live 200 miles apart, are only together for one week in the month.

Taylor has twice undergone major surgery on a shoulder injury and his partner has recently recovered from an ankle injury sustained during a session of ballet which divers take part in to enhance poise and leg strength.

The British can claim to have set the standard in one respect. The trickiest of dives - a headache-inducing two-and-half-somersault with twist in the pike position known as the Twister - was pioneered by Taylor and has been adopted by all his rivals.

News
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVBain and Armstrong have presented their unique view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Sport
footballCity manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia

This time last year, Enner Valencia was playing for his first professional club in Ecuador, in the process of building a career that began in the far northern reaches of the country, near the border with Colombia. In the last 10 months his life has changed beyond recognition, via Mexico, Brazil and now east London, a good story of football’s extraordinary power to propel a young man to great heights.

Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Sport
Dusan Tadic celebrates his goal with Graziano Pelle during Southampton’s rout of Sunderland

What has impressed me so much about Southampton is that at the heart of the club there is clearly a vision and a structure around which everyone, and everything, works. It dictates who they sign, how they play and how they develop young footballers.

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes