Rio 2016: Tonia Couch targets historic GB women's Olympic diving medal

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Tonia Couch
Two-time Olympian Tonia Couch hopes it will be third time lucky for her medal bid in Rio

Tonia Couch believes she can end Britain's 56-year wait for a women's Olympic diving medal at Rio 2016.

Couch, who claimed a career-best individual 10m World Series silver at the weekend, has regularly finished on the podium alongside new synchronised partner Lois Toulson this season.

Elizabeth Ferris was the last GB woman to secure an Olympic diving medal, with bronze at the 1960 Games in Rome.

"To get to the top you have to aim for the top," Couch, 26, told BBC Sport.

"At my first Olympics in 2008 I was there to enjoy diving for Team GB and there was no chance of a medal, but now I have more experience and I'm competition ready, so it would be lovely to achieve my [Olympic medal] dream."

Lois Toulson and Tonia Couch
Toulson and Couch have impressed while competing together in the World Series this season

Changing diving partners 'not easy'

Couch was controversially denied a place in the individual 10m platform competition at London 2012 and finished fifth alongside Sarah Barrow in the 10m synchronised event.

Barrow's chronic shin injury problems saw the pair broken up last year, with Couch partnered by rising star and European Games champion Toulson for the National Diving Cup in January.

A sluggish performance there saw Barrow and Couch re-united for the Rio Test Event, where they secured Team GB a 10m synchro Olympic berth.

However, Barrow has since been dropped from the GB squad, with Couch and Toulson going on to secure four successive World Series medals over the last couple of months.

"It hasn't been easy," admitted Couch. "But I'm quite laid back and easy-going, so I've not let it affect me too much.

"At the beginning it was a bit rushed [with Toulson] as we hadn't had much time together to practise, but now we're training really well and we're on the right track."

GB Diving - European Championships squad
Tom Daley - 10m, 10m synchro, 3m mixAlicia Blagg - 3m synchro, 3m mix
Daniel Goodfellow - 10m synchro Tonia Couch - 10m, 10m synchro
Jordan Houlden - 1mRebecca Gallantree - 3m, 3m synchro
Jack Laugher - 3m, 3m synchroGrace Reid - 3m, 1m
Matthew Lee - 10m, 10m mixKatherine Torrance - 1m
Chris Mears - 3m synchroLois Toulson - 10m synchro
Freddie Woodward - 3m, 1mGeorgia Ward - 10m, 10 mix

British Diving is currently enjoying a period of impressive World Series success, which follows a record-breaking 2015 World Championships.

Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley and new synchronised diving partner Dan Goodfellow, as well as 3m springboard duo Jack Laugher and Chris Mears have regularly finished on the podium this season.

"It's amazing to watch and it's incredible what Great Britain is doing at the moment," she told BBC Sport.

Couch wants second European title

Sarah Barrow and Tonia Couch
Sarah Barrow (left) and Tonia Couch won gold together at the 2012 European Championships

Couch's next major event will be the European Championships at the London Aquatic Centre in May, ahead of the Olympic selection trials in Sheffield the following month.

"I would love to get a gold medal with Lois at the Europeans and it would be an amazing confidence boost," she said.

"The last time I won one was in 2012 with Sarah Barrow, so it would be great to do it again in Olympic season.

"I just can't wait to get out and perform in front of a big crowd.

"All of that support and competing for Great Britain is what you dream of as a child and, although it's a bit of pressure, it's good pressure and I think it always helps to have a few nerves."

With 100 days to go until Rio 2016, the British Olympic Association [BOA] have launched the Team GB fan clubexternal-link where people can sign up for updates about GB athletes in the build up to the Games and beyond.

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