Ross Solly, FINA Press Correspondent in Australia

The top Chinese divers are not on the Gold Coast, but it didn’t stop a dominant performance from their team on the opening day of competition at the FINA Grand Prix in Australia.

 

Platform diver Siyu Ji (CHN) was the most impressive diver on Thursday, posting 392.50 to cruise through her platform semi-final and set herself up for a fifth 2015 Grand Prix win.

“I felt good today about my performance, especially for my 207 dive, but the rest of my dives were quite normal” 14-year-old Ji said. 

“I had experience in competing in outdoor pools, but these conditions are different. The weather is not very good, it’s very windy and cold. It’s the first time we’ve had this kind of environment.

“It’s really a good opportunity for me to compete here in the outdoor environment. I’m learning quite a lot from this experience.”

 

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13-year-old teammate Yaying Ding, a winner of the Bolzano Grand Prix, won her semi-final with 329.40.

“I’m not doing well today,” she said.

“My performance is not as good as I have done. It is quite difficult to dive outdoors.

“It is windy and cold, not very comfortable. This is only the fourth time I have ever dived outdoors."

Chinese 17-year-old Bowen Huang won a hard-fought men’s 3-metre semi-final, finishing with 439.45 and just ahead of American Darian Schmidt on 435.70.

“I’m not happy with my performance today, because I felt a little bit nervous,” Huang, who won the platform final at the Madrid Grand Prix, said.

“I have had experience competing at an outdoor pool, but the environment here is a challenge for me.”

Beijing gold medalist Matthew Mitcham provided the excitement for the home crowd, winning his 3-metre semi-final with 410.25.

“I know that I have the potential to do springboard well, and I’m not getting super carried away by the result,” he said.

“Even though I did win the semi- 410 is a good score but it’s not blow-your-mind fantastic.”

The men’s platform and women’s 3-metre preliminaries will be contested on Friday.

By Ross Solly, Diving Australia