Hannah Starling could hardly contain her surprise after securing 3m synchro bronze alongside Rebecca Gallantree on the first evening of the London leg of the Diving World Series.
The 18-year-old normally specializes in the individual event on the international stage, and finished 13th in the 3m at the London 2012 Olympics in the same pool being used for the third leg of the World Series this weekend.
She returned to the London venue as part of a duo this time around though, stepping in for Gallantree’s regular partner Alicia Blagg, who is regaining full fitness following a broken wrist.
And despite only having a week’s training together, Starling and Gallantree, who herself finished seventh at London 2012 alongside Blagg, turned in an impressive performance on their international debut together to take bronze with 302.88.
Gold went to world champions Wu Minxia and Shi Tingmao with Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape taking silver.
But Starling, who will also take part in the 3m individual competition in London, admitted it had been a triumphant return to the Olympic pool.
“I had absolutely no idea if we were going to get a medal or not. All I knew is that my third dive was so good, when I went in the water I could feel it go down,” she said.
“Its really nice to know that even though I haven’t had the proper training that a lot of these people have, I’ve still been able to do my best and get a good performance out.
“When you wait for a competition you know what to expect but I had no idea what was coming. It turned out good though, I love competing in this pool.”
There was further success for Britain on the boards during day one’s evening session as Chris Mears and Jack Laugher made their long-awaited competitive debut in the men’s 3m synchro.
The pair had their first training session together last October but Mears slipped during it, resulting in nine months on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
But posting an impressive 431.82 to just miss out on a medal in fourth, Laugher predicted it was just the start for the pair.
“Chris and I have been wanting this for years so it’s amazing it can happen here in such a good venue,” he said.
“It’s a weird feeling, but we got into our stride, had a bit of fun with it and I want to be doing it for years to come. We’ve put down a benchmark.”
© Sportsbeat 2014