OLIVER Dingley says he hopes his gold at the British Gas Diving Championships could earn him a place at the World Championships in Barcelona in July.
The 20-year-old, from Rochford, won the 1m springboard competition at the national competition in Plymouth, but had to settle for silver behind London 2012 competitor Jack Laugher in the 3m event at the weekend.
“The British teams for this year haven’t been announced yet, so I don’t know if I’ll get a place,” said Southend Diving’s Dingley.
“But I’m happy with my performance and it’s hopefully a good step, so I’ll see what happens.
“I’ll most likely do grand prix events this year and we’re going to have a big push towards the Commonwealth Games. My next big goal is Commonwealths and the European Championships.
“But I’d love to be selected for the World Championships this year as well, so fingers crossed.”
Dingley moved to Southend from Leeds in September, and has been very impressed with the facilities at Garon Park.
“The set up in Southend is one of the best in the country,” said Dingley, who hopes the sport will be boosted by Tom Daley’s Splash TV show.
“I’m actually with my old head coach from Harrogate, Damian Ball, who moved down to coach there and I followed him. “I coach children two days a week and it’s good to encourage them to enjoy diving.
“As someone who’s been diving for so long it’s nice to be able to share my experience. “Hopefully we might find the next Tom Daley in Southend.”
London 2012 bronze medallist Daley, 18, also retained his national 10m title in front of a sell-out crowd at his home pool in Plymouth.
And fellow Olympian Tonia Couch, 23, completed a 10m double by retaining her synchro title with Sarah Barrow, and taking individual honours.
* BRITISH Gas is the principal partner of British Swimming and supports diving in Britain. This spring, the company is launching Swim Britain, a campaign to create a healthier nation and get more people swimming regularly by 2015. For more information visit www.facebook.com/BGSwimming