Over 250 Divers from 50 countries will compete at FINA’s Diving World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, starting today. Competition will run from February 19-24 with qualification for the Olympic Games on the mind of all competitors. The event takes place at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre, an outdoor arena, which will be the venue for Diving, Water Polo and Synchronised Swimming at the 2016 Games. 88 Olympic spots are up for grabs across 4 synchro and 4 individual events.
Ireland is represented at the World Cup by two divers, Oliver Dingley and Natasha MacManus. Both Dingley and MacManus compete in the 3m Springboard events and they will need to finish in the top 18 to secure places for Ireland at the Games.
Dingley is first up on Sunday and has a tough task ahead with World Champion Choa He from China and Russia’s World silver medallist Ilia Zakharov competing.
“I always look forward to events but I do get nervous” commented Dingley “It’s the big one, we’re at the very top of where we can be, I’m just going to go up there and enjoy it; when I enjoy my diving that’s when I tend to be at my best, I’m feeling good about it, a few nerves but mostly confident. It’s a real nice atmosphere with all of the other divers and there is a great Team Ireland vibe going on. The main challenge is diving outside, we’re not lucky enough to have outside diving and nice weather in Ireland to be able to do that but we’ve getting used to the weather, we’ve dived in all sorts of conditions, sun, rain, wind, night time, we’ve covered all the possibilities of what we might be diving in.”
Natasha MacManus, turns 18 while in Brasil and will compete at her first senior major international meet. “It’s definitely a big step up from junior to senior, but being alongside some of the best divers in the world pushes you further than I have been pushed before. I’m looking forward to my event on Monday, training is going well, so I just want to keep my head and focus on myself rather than anyone else.”
Irish Divers Schedule (Irish time):
1pm – Sunday 21st February – Men’s 3m Preliminaries – Oliver Dingley
1pm – Monday 22nd February – Women’s 3m Preliminaries – Natasha MacManus
7pm – Monday 22nd February – Men’s 3m Semi-Finals – Oliver Dingley
11pm – Monday 22nd February – Men’s 3m Final – Oliver Dingley
7pm – Tuesday 23rd February – Women’s 3m Semi-Finals – Natasha MacManus
11pm – Tuesday 23rd February – Women’s 3m Final – Natasha MacManus
Streaming (SF & Finals Only): http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/fina/diving/