FINA World Championships 2019 | As it happened: Day 7

Olympic Channel were on site in Korea as the World Championships saw a dramatic diving final.

By ZK Goh and Andrew Binner ·

Olympic Channel are on site at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Thursday 18 July had finals in the Team Relay open water swim as well as the artistic swimming Duet Free and diving Men's 3m Springboard, which ended in dramatic circumstances.

You can re-live all of Thursday's action with our blog below (newest updates first). Come back for daily live blogs throughout the Championships.

Alternatively, you can catch up with what happened on Wednesday 17 July here.


12 - 28 Jul 2019

FINA World Championships - Gwangju

South Korea

All times below are Korean Standard Time (UTC+9 hours). Please refresh the blog for latest updates.

11:20 pm - What a dramatic finish

Well, that was some climax to the day, wasn't it?

It seemed as though Jack Laugher would put an end to China's diving domination in Gwangju, but it wasn't to be in the end.

Earlier today, we saw gold medals awarded in the open water team relay and Duet Free artistic swimming events.

We'll leave you with a selection of photos from today's action. See you tomorrow!

FINA World Championships Day 7 - the best photos

10:50 pm - Anger and emotion

Laugher was filmed punching a wall after his botched final dive. That left him bleeding from his hand.

"It's because I'm so passionate about diving, it's my life, it's my job, and when you could potentially make history and do such a good performance and you make the mistake yourself, the only person I can be angry with is me.

"It was a heat of the moment thing and I just went to get my anger out somewhere. I probably should have done it away from the cameras and off poolside, but I was so angry. I was angry, then I was laughing, then I cried in my coach's arms. It was a huge amount of emotion all at once."

And, of course, the Brit wants to challenge Cao and Xie once more in Tokyo next year.

"I'm thinking if I do that next year and come away with a bronze medal, I'd be really happy.

"My goal was to come out here and try and take the crown. To not do that, it hurts a lot. I'm hoping this will make me a lot stronger. I know I can compete with the world's best.

"Across diving there's only one or two people who can compete with the Chinese and when I'm on form I feel that I'm one of them. Today I showed that. I'm obviously a very good diver, obviously I just wanted it a bit too much today."

10:44 pm - Laugher: "I'd rather this have happened now"

We've just been down in the interview mix zone to hear from Jack Laugher, who is still quite cut up about his error.

But he's looking at the positives.

"As upsetting as the last dive was, the first five were amazing and I'm going to try to focus on that and focus on the good things for now. There's things to work on and next year's a more important one, I'd rather this happen now than in Tokyo next year.

"It happened yesterday as well in the semi-final. It was weird because in the prelims it was good. In the final, maybe because it happened yesterday, I was thinking about it maybe too much.

"I usually finish on that dive because it can score me 90 to 100 points. It's usually one of my strongest dives and that's why I always finish on it. Today it really hasn't been that, and I'm extremely upset."

10:27 pm - Fifth and seventh for Americans

It's worth pointing out that David Boudia got what he came for, if that was a top-five finish.

On his international debut in this event, the 30-year-old finished fifth.

Teammate Mike Hixon was seventh.

10:18 pm - Laugher braves medal ceremony

The 24-year-old Laugher manages a small smile as he steps up to the podium to receive his medal. He's still sobbing. A really unfortunate end to the event for the Brit.

Olympic champ Cao adds to his two golds in 3m synchro and 10m synchro with a silver.

And here comes the now two-time world champ in this event, Xie.

The March of the Volunteers rings out around the arena, but there's no doubt Laugher knows it should've been God Save the Queen. He can barely bring himself to look at the flags.

That's nice, Laugher joins the two Chinese on the top step for photos with their medals. Xie gives him a pat on the back.

10:10 pm - Disbelief in GB camp

We're getting camera shots of Laugher's teammates James Heatly, Daniel Goodfellow and Matty Lee in the crowd. None of them can quite believe it.

Here comes Laugher for the medal ceremony. A consolation hug from one of the other divers, followed by Laugher's coach, but he will be gutted.

Unsurprisingly, he's not taking it well. A big cry there with another teammate Lois Toulson.

Final results of men 3m springboard

10:01 pm - Laugher messes up on final dive! China win gold

Final dive for Boudia. Oh, he may have saved his best for last. Yep, 84 points for that dive.

Here comes Laugher. "Go Jack!" roars the crowd. Back 3.5 somersaults in the tuck position, 3.6-tariff.

Oh no! He has completely messed up and landed on his back and Laugher has his head in his hands!

You could not write it! Just 30 points for that dive and that means China will win gold!

So it's between Cao and Xie. Who will take the title? Olympic champion Cao scores 89.3 for a total of 517.85.

That looks nice from Xie. 102.6 points! Xie retains his world title!

The British team in the stands look absolutely devastated. It means China are still unbeaten, with 10 wins from 10.

9:47 pm - Is this it for China's diving domination?

David Boudia, the four-time Olympic medallist on 10m platform, is certainly giving his all in his international debut at 3m.

I'd think he'd be happy with a top five here. He's in third with three to dive in round five.

A forward 3.5 somersaults tuck for Laugher. Degree of difficulty 3.8, and the scores come across on the loudspeakers: nines and 9.5s.

Can anyone stop Laugher today? He's never won a world title. 102.60! That's back-to-back 100-plus scores!

Here comes Cao, with another 3.4-difficulty dive. If anything has helped Laugher today aside from his near-perfect execution, it's the difficulty of his dives.

No, that won't be enough from Cao. Only 74.8.

Xie's turn. Inward 3.5 somersaults pike, a 3.7-difficulty dive. Can China save their unbeaten record in Gwangju?

That isn't as clean as Xie would like, probably, but that still gets eights from the judges to move him up to second.

With one round to go, Laugher is on course for his maiden world title. He's 31.1 points clear of Xie.

9:34 pm - Laugher extends lead

Boudia doesn't look happy with himself. Over-rotated slightly on entry to the water there and that's only scores around 6.5 for the American.

Here's Laugher, with a 3.9-difficulty dive as he keeps adding to his tariff.

Wow. His teammates are up on their feet. That's huge! A ten among those scores and that dive adds 105.3 points to his total.

Here comes Cao Yuan. 95.4 for him so he'll maintain his spot in the top three.

Xie's got a reverse 3.5 somersaults in the tuck position, with a difficulty tariff of 3.5, so this will need to be special to overtake the Briton.

In fact, that dive wasn't even good enough to overtake Cao.

Laugher leads Cao by around 18 points.

9:22 pm - Laugher ahead at halfway

Here comes Boudia for his third dive (5154B), with a 3.4 degree of difficulty. He needs a big score here to move up the standings.

Looks pretty clean. His teammates cheering in the stands are happy. It's sevens and 7.5s from the judges for the U.S. national champ.

Jack Laugher, our current leader, is up. 88.4 for him, but the Chinese are capable of producing higher-scoring dives.

Cao follows Laugher. But that's only 84 for him so that gap between the two will grow to seven points. What can Xie produce?

Back 3.5 somersaults in the tuck position for the current world champion. Huge cheers from the Chinese fans! That's got nines and 9.5s from the judges!

A whopping 97.20 for that dive means he's into second! Laugher is 3.1 points ahead of Xie.

The top eight in the men's 3m springboard final at halfway

9:10 pm - Laugher clinging on to lead

Two rounds down. A solid 89-plus dive for Laugher which ought to keep him ahead.

But there's nines here for Cao, who scores 92.75 to move up to second!

Defending champ Xie follows and just gets his angle of entry into the water wrong. That means he's third after two of six rounds.

Laugher leads Cao by three points.

9.00 pm - Korean water polo player Hanna Yoon Ryan reacts to her team's best performance

Despite losing 22-2 to Canada, the Korean women’s water polo team have their redemption.

When the very inexperienced hosts suffered a 64-0 drubbing against Hungary in their opening match, it seemed there was little hope for optimism.

Determined to improve, they more than halved the number of goals scored against them in their next outing against Russia.

But that had nothing on the achievement of tonight, scoring two goals in a performance that received a standing ovation from their very proud supporters.

“The performance is such a huge improvement for us. We’ve been really trying hard every day to improve,” Ryan told media after.

“We feel a lot of pressure but it’s something we have to get over.

“I’ve been playing water polo a month and a half, I’m just a beginner. The hardest part is the fight between the players, to block, to shoot.

“It feels a little bit like we are heroes in the water for Korea,” Hanna Yoon Ryan, Korean water polo player

The Korean men's water polo team and Korean media line-up to congratulate their women's team on scoring two goals

8:58 pm - Laugher leads after first dive

88.40 for Jack Laugher, who got a 9.5 from one of the judges there. That puts him into sole control of first.

Cao Yuan, with a dive of the same difficulty, finds himself down in fourth. As does his teammate Xie!

Laugher is five points clear.

8:41 pm - Ready to go

Welcome back to the Nambu University International Aquatics Centre, where the 12 finalists in the Men's 3m Springboard diving event have just been introduced to the crowd.

Each diver has six dives today. All eyes are on the event's defending world champion Xie Siyi, Olympic champion Cao Yuan, Great Britain's Jack Laugher, and the U.S.' David Boudia.

8:08 pm - The Svetlanas reign again

95.7667 for Huang Xuechen and Sun Wenyan of China moves them into silver-medal position. It means, with one team left, they're guaranteed a medal.

Here come Spain. What can Ona Carbonell and Paula Ramirez produce?

There are a few tiny errors, the TV analyst notes. And so it proves with the judges, just 91.70 means they miss out on the podium.

So Russia win gold, China take silver, and Ukraine bronze.

8:05 pm - GOALS FOR KOREA!

Korea women's water polo team who have scored two goals for the first time in Gwangju!

The final score was 22-2 to Canada, which represents an enormous improvement for the hosts... and they are receiving a standing ovation for their efforts.

Fans cheer as South Korea score their second goal against Canada
The sun sets over Gwangju after hosts South Korea score two goals in a World Championship match for the first time

7:57 pm - Russians wow

Here comes that spider-inspired routine from Russia.

Svetlana Romashina and Svetlana Kolesnichenko are just so good at what they do. The commentary team are equally impressed as I am, from the sounds of it.

Oh, wow, 97.50! An incredible total, only 2.5 points off absolute perfection.

7:45 pm - Big scores in artistic swimming

Japan are the first of our big teams with a medal chance to perform here.

Yukiko Inui and Megumu Yoshida go big! It's a score of 93.00, they'll take some dislodging from the top three.

Ukraine are next with Marta Fiedina and Anastasiya Savchuk. It's 94.10! So they go ahead! We could be in for a titanic battle to the end here. Four teams left.

7:41 pm - Korea battling hard

As we reach half-time in this women's water polo match, hosts Korea are down 11-0 against Canada, which is a huge improvement on their previous displays.

It's clear that they're bonding more with each game, and they've actually had three close chances in this one to score in this one.

The dancing otters and cheerleaders are giving it everything from the sideline.

One of the mascot otters steals the limelight, as the players line-up behind!

7:20 pm - Sneak peak?

A preview of what we can expect to see in the Russians' duet later, perhaps...

6:50 pm - Netherlands weather Kiwi storm

As grey clouds circled over the water polo arena, the Dutch women's water polo team was forced to take care of a different kind or storm on the pitch in the shape of New Zealand.

Highly-rated Netherlands struggled to break down a tough opponent initially, before finding their rhythm to swim out 15-6 winners.

The women in orange are now second in Group A behind USA, while New Zealand are third and South Africa fourth.

The Korean-pop music is on, meaning Korea women's team is up next!

6:40 pm - Finalists getting ready

We're about 20 minutes away from the start of the Women's Duet Free final in artistic swimming.

Here's a reminder of today's finalists, who are getting ready to be introduced to the crowd shortly:

Greece, USA, Austria, Canada, Mexico, France, Japan, Ukraine, Italy, Russia, China, Spain.

The two Svetlanas, Romashina and Kolesnichenko, will hope to extend their personal records of world medals, while Spain have Ona Carbonell looking to do the same.

5:40 pm - USA Women's water polo in fine form

The water polo world and Olympic champions looked every inch the favourites to win in Gwangju, dominating South Africa 26–1.

Team USA are now top of Group A with three wins from three matches.

The crowd was also treated to dancing otters (the Gwangju mascots) and cheerleaders on the sideline.

The United States score a late penalty against South Africa
The Gwangju 2019 mascots join the cheerleaders for a dance at the water polo arena

5:19 pm - Abel's reaction after qualifying for the final

Canada's Jennifer Abel finished fourth in the Women's 3m Individual Springboard semi-final, to book her place in tomorrow's final.

She only had time for one question in the media zone as she hurried to catch her team bus back to the athlete's village, where she is no doubt looking forward to a well-earned rest after completing 10 qualifying dives today.

"It was a very hard competition for all the girls today as we were diving this morning too, but I'm happy I got through," she said.

Fortunately we had a longer chat with Jennifer at her training base in Montreal last month and you can see this below.

4:55 pm - Shi qualifies in lead

So, unsurprisingly, Shi Tingmao the Olympic champion has qualified for the final in the lead.

It's Australia's Maddison Keeney who qualifies in second thanks to a high-difficulty last dive, while Shi's teammate Wang Han finished this semi-final in third.

In addition to the Chinese, Canada and Australia will both have two athletes in the final. Germany, Japan, Ukraine, Malaysia, and Netherlands have all also secured their Tokyo 2020 spots.

4:48 pm - First qualifier

We have our first finalist and Tokyo 2020 quota qualifier!

4:20 pm - Shi still leads

Shi is still ahead after three of five rounds, about eight points clear of Jenn Abel of Canada and the Australian Keeney in third.

4:05 pm - Olympic champion leads the way

After Round 2 of 5, Chinese Olympic gold medallist Shi Tingmao sits in top spot in the 3m Springboard Individual diving semi-final.

Australia's Maddison Keeney (2nd) and China's Wang Han (3rd) are close behind.

During the break, Dance Cam and Korean-pop song Gangnam Style keep the crowd of all ages entertained.

'Dance Cam' gets the crowd moving during the diving competition

3:33 pm - Cutting 18 to 12

We're back at the diving pool for the Women's 3m Springboard semi-finals, where the 18 semi-finalists will be cut to 12 finalists.

Crucially, in addition to qualifying for the final tomorrow evening at 8:45pm, the 12 finalists all also win a Tokyo 2020 quota spot for their countries.

Shi Tingmao and Wang Han of China finished one-two in this morning's prelims, so will be the last two divers in each of the five rounds this afternoon.

3:12 pm - Taking care of the talent

Health and safety is of paramount importance at Gwangju 2019. Take a look at the Heart Check Room, where athletes can get screened and ensure that they are fit to compete.

The Women's 3m Springboard Individual semi-finals are coming up at 3:30.

2:28 pm - Today's topiary

This wave-shaped hedge is a magnificent effort from the Gwangju 2019 gardening team.

It sits at the entrance to the Yeomju Gymnasium (which hosts artistic swimming) and looks amazing when the sun shines on its plethora of purple, yellow and red flowers.

Wave-shaped topiary at the Yeomju Gymnasium artistic swimming venue

1:41 pm - Favourites Russia top Team Free qualification

Russia barely boot a foot or arm out of place as they qualified in top spot in the preliminary round of the artistic swimming Team Free Combination.

As the name suggests, this is a combination of all the others events (solo, duet, trio, and team segment) in one routine.

China were close behind in second, with Ukraine in third.

The top 12 teams, including hosts Korea, will lock horns again in Saturday's final.

Artistic swimmers pose for photos in the sun after their performance

1:28 pm - Italy top group in women's water polo

As the sun breaks through the grey clouds, Italy have beaten China 14-6 to go top of Group D.

Basement team Japan were edged out 7-9 for the second time in Gwangju, this time against Australia, who are now second in the standings.

1:04 pm - Diving semi-finals decided

As expected, Chinese Synchro gold medallists Shi Tingmao and Wang Han took the top two qualifying berths for this afternoon's Women's 3m Springboard Individual semi-final.

Australian Olympic bronze medallist Maddison Keeney finished third with Jennifer Abel in fourth. It's a strong field out there!

The top 18 lock horns again at 3.30 pm.

12.15 pm - Team USA incoming!

As we reach the final few days of diving competition, the swimmers are taking the opportunity between events to familiarise themselves with the Nambu University Aquatics Centre.

It looks like the Unites States are en route in one of the typically colourful coaches that ferry athletes between their accommodation and the venues.

11.38 am - China in diving driving seat

At the end of round 3 in the Women's 3m Springboard Individual preliminary round, recently-crowned 3m synchro world champions Shi Tingmao and Wang Han are first and second respectively.

Canada's Jennifer Abel is also looking good for qualification, sitting in third with two rounds to go.

10:45 am - Spain maintain perfect record in water polo

Spain's women romped to a 19-6 win over Cuba this morning which sees them go top of group C with three wins from three.

After going in at half-time 13-1 down, the Cubans did well to actually win the third quarter and make a match out of it.

Greece go second in the group after defeating third-placed Kazakhstan 13-7.

09:40 am - The keys to success in open water swimming

As with any elite sport, the foundation for success in open water swimming is hard work, practice and dedication.

However it also helps to be born with long arms, big shoulders and wide deltoid muscles like this! These attributes help to generate more power with every stroke through the water.

An open water swimmer at the Yeosu Ocean Park finish line

09:24 am - Another open water medal for Germany

German quartet Lea Boy, Sarah Kohler, Soeren Meissnger and Rob Muffels have won the Mixed 5km open water swimming title in a time of 53:58:70. A great effort in choppy conditions.

The Germans edged Italy in another thrilling open water finish by 0.2 of a second, while USA secured the bronze.

It's another medal for Muffels, who won Men's 10km bronze on Tuesday. His compatriot Florian Wellbrock won the gold in that race.

9:00 am - Abel looking to right Rio wrongs

Fresh from securing silver in the Women's 3m Springboard Syncho alongside Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu, can Canadian diving queen Jennifer Abel step up in today's individual event? Her preliminary round begins at 10:00 am.

We spent a day the Olympic bronze medallists' Montreal training camp, where she revealed how she found a new lease of life in the sport after Rio 2016. You can watch that video here.

Canada's Jennifer Abel competes in the individual 3m springboard event

8:10 am - Day 7 highlights

08:00 - 09:15 Open water swimming: Mixed Team 5km final
08:30 - 13:35 Water Polo: Women's preliminary round
10:00 - 12:30 Diving: Women's 3m Springboard Individual preliminary round
11:00 - 13:00 Artistic swimming: Free Combination preliminary round
14:15 - 16:00 Beach Water Polo: Women's matches
15:30 - 16:30 Diving: Women's 3m Springboard Individual semi-final
16:30 - 21:35 Water Polo: Women's preliminary round
19:00 - 20:30 Artistic swimming: Duet Free final
20:45 - 22:15 Diving: Men's 3m Springboard Individual final

8:00 am - Rain!

Welcome to Day 6 of the Olympic Channel FINA Worlds live blog.

While the temperature remains warm in the mornings, today we have woken up to rain!

No precipitation will stop an aquatic athlete however and our first medal event of the day is already underway in the Mixed 5km Team relay open water swim.

There will also be medals won in artistic swimming and diving today, two indoor events that will be unaffected by the rain.