Last year will always going down as a memorable 12 months for diver Jack Laugher as he broke his senior international medal duck in style with no few than ten trips to the podium.
But with Rio 2016 ticking ever closer, the 20-year-old knows the next year will be just as important, starting with this weekend’s British Diving Championships in Plymouth.
Laugher was already a three-time national champion but he truly announced himself on the world stage in 2014.
First up came the World Series, where he took four bronze and two silver medals in the 3m springboard and 3m sycnhro events – two each at the Moscow, Windsor and Monterrey legs.
Then came 3m springboard bronze at the World Cup in Shanghai before he rounded off a fine few month’s work with two golds and a silver for England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
But with a possible World Championships on the horizon this summer, not to mention qualification for a second Olympics, Laugher has been busy stepping things up in preparation for the new season, including introducing a new dive to his list.
The dive has so far been kept up close wraps but it will be on full display this weekend at the national championships, with Laugher keen to lay down a marker for the season.
“Last year was the best year of my life in terms of my diving career. To win ten international medals was great, with the World Cup medal the icing on the cake,” said Laugher, who competed in the men’s 3m springboard at London 2012.
“Hopefully with this new dive that I have been working on, I can be up there this season and get some momentum going into Rio.
“I’m expecting good things from this year. I’ve got more competition experience under my belt although I’m still a relatively young diver compared to others that are competing.
“It’s about doing well in Plymouth, it starts the ball rolling for an important year with Olympic spots up for grabs.
“Getting medals is all well and good but the performance is also important. I want to start well and give myself confidence for the rest of the year.”
Laugher will be competing in both the 3m synchro and 3m individual in Plymouth, with competition getting underway on Friday.
He and synchro partner Chris Mears will also be looking to push on from last year’s success, which saw them take Commonwealth gold in Glasgow, and Laugher is confident they can take things to another level.
“Last year was our first real year of competing internationally together in syncho. We’ve moved into together as well so we spend a lot of time together and know each other well,” he added.
“We are looking really good at the moment, Chris is diving well too. The synchro is a key event for us and we are aiming for a medal in Rio. It also helps us individually as well with us both diving so well.
“I’d really like to qualify a place for GB at the Olympic and to do that you have to be in the top 12 in the world.”
© Sportsbeat 2015