26th Annual Luton Challenge – Report

This year’s Luton Challenge was once again a very exciting 3 days, attracting clubs from all over the country to compete in the infamous inter-club competition. The weekend was very successful for both the club and the divers, with excellent diving performances given by all who competed.

Day 1

Katherine Kerr and Katie Cripps kick started the competition for the club diving on platform first. Both girls pulled out all the stops to secure their places in the platform Final, with Katie qualifying in 4th place, whilst Katherine led the way qualifying in 1st. In the final, all the divers upped their game, with Katie manage to secure 4th place overall with a solid diving performance scoring her a total of 81.80. Katherine had a tough battle to keep her position at the top, with a slight wobble in her last dive placing her in 2nd Place overall with a score of 87.40.

Next to compete was Georgie Phillips, who faced some tough competition on the 1m Springboard. Georgie began her competition with some excellent diving, and was in 3rd place after her first three dives, but had a slight falter on her back 1 1⁄2 somersaults placing her in 8th place with an overall score of 168.10. Grace was next up on 1m, and was competing in the largest category of the competition which contained 27 divers! Grace managed to slowly claw her way up the leader board with some very solid diving up against some very experienced competitors. She finished the competition in 10th place with a score of 157.85, just missing out on a spot in the finals!

Oliver Simpson was up next for the boys competing on platform, producing some very solid dives, putting him through to the finals in 5th place. In the finals for the platform Oliver pulled out all the stops with some excellent dives, moving him up the score board into 4th place, narrowly missing out on 3rd by 0.70 marks!

The second leg of day saw Georgie Phillips return to the boards competing on platform this time. She faced some very experienced divers, but didn’t let that distract her producing some very solid dives, resulting in a 10th place finish with an overall score of 132.45. Oliver Simpson was eager to gain a medal after narrowly missing out in his last competition, and safely secured a place in the boys 3m springboard final, qualifying in 5th. Determined to improve and move up into the top 3, he pulled out all the stops scoring 36.30 in his last dive boosting him into 3rd place with an overall score of 91.95. Katherine Kerr and Katie Cripps were keen to follow in Oliver’s success as they began their competition on 1m springboard. Both Katie and Katherine were after a place in the final, and with some excellent dives Katie qualified in 6th place scoring 108.07, with Katherine qualifying in 1st place with a score of 159.55. Into the final, and both Katherine and Katie were determined to up their performance. Katie performed some very solid dives, and managed to move up one place, finishing in 5th with an overall score of 72.00. Katherine held her own throughout the competition and after her last dive was untouchable, finishing the competition in 1st place with an overall score of 101.40.

The last competition of the day saw Henry Biggs, Josh McAllister and James Cripps all fight it out for a spot in the final on 1m springboard. All the boys dived extremely well in what was another closely run competition, with James finishing in 12th place with an overall score of 185.45. Josh placed slightly higher, finishing in 11th with a score of 186.40, with Henry managing to qualify for the final in 5th place, scoring 7’s in his first dive. In the final, Henry produced some very good dives, placing him in 6th with an overall score of 92.30.

Day 2

First to compete for Luton on the Saturday was Grace Kouset on 3m Springboard. Grace once again was faced with the largest group of competitors over the weekend, but managed to hold her own amongst some experienced divers, placing 16th out of 29 with an overall score of 148.00. Henry, James and Josh were quick to follow on the 3m Springboard having great success in the preliminary round placing 6th to take him through to the finals. James also had an excellent competition, diving well throughout and finishing in 8th place with a score of 212.85, narrowly missing out on a place in the final. Josh was not far behind, with some very solid dives placing him in 11th place overall with a score of 186.85. In the final, Henry upped his game, producing some excellent dives moving him up into 5th place with a score of 119.30, only narrowly missing out on 4th.With day two came the hotly anticipated Pairs event, which featured many GB divers competing for the sort after title and trophy including the likes of Hannah Starling, Rebecca Galantree and Daniel Goodfellow.

Two pairs had representatives from Luton. Elliot Browne and Katherine Kerr competed together under the name “Tumble and Titch”, whilst Henry Biggs paired up with Rhea Gayle from Plymouth; 2012 national champion and 10th in Europe on 1m with their team name being “Oreo”. The standard of diving was extremely high with many of the pairs having competed at European, World, and a couple at Olympic level! Both pairs with representatives from the club were knocked out in the first round, with Katherine and Elliott finishing in 20th place, whilst Henry and his partner finished in 12th place.

Day 3

The final day of the competition saw Henry Biggs, Josh McAllister, James Cripps, Katherine Kerr, Katie Cripps, Grace Kouset, Oliver Simpson and Elliott Browne all representing the club. Henry, James and Josh were first to compete on platform, with all three boys diving well throughout the 6 rounds. James and Josh both had slight wobbles in one dive but carried on diving well with Josh finishing 10th with a score of 157.15, and James placing 9th scoring 169.45. Henry successfully managed to dive his way into the final, qualifying in 5th place. In the final all the divers upped their performances, and Henry finished in 6th place with an overall score of 112.90.

The second event saw Katherine and Katie return to the boards to continue their previous success, this time on the 3m springboard. Katherine held her own throughout the preliminary round qualifying for the final in 1st Place. Katie was hot on her heels with some very impressive diving, leading her to qualify for the finals in 6th place. Moving into the Final, Katherine was determined to remain on top and with some excellent diving did just that, finishing in 1st place with an overall score of 99.90, winning her the GOLD! Katie was unfazed by her fellow competitors and clawed her way up the leader board with some very great dives, finishing in 4th place with an overall score of 83.25.

Oliver Simpson was next to dive, representing the club on 1m up against some strong competitors. Ollie had a few wobbles during the preliminary round, but put that aside and continued to dive well, finishing in 9th position with an overall score of 111.00, narrowly missing out on 8th place by 0.05.
The second to last event for the Club saw Grace Kouset competing platform against 20 fellow divers. Grace once again managed to hold her own up against some tough competitors in the largest age group, performing some very impressive dives. She finished in 10th place with an overall score of 163.75.

The last competitor for the club was Elliott Browne on platform, who faced some extremely experienced competitors. Elliott, still in the early stages of his diving career produced some superb diving and also introduced two new high DD dives, he placed 8th overall with a score of 226.75.

A big congratulations to all the divers who competed throughout the weekend, and well done to their coaches, especially Chelsey who placed 4th in the coaches competition!

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