8 May 2016Euro Aquatics: Jack Laugher 'confident' despite injury struggles
World medallist Jack Laugher believes the pressure of a home crowd at the European championships in London will help his Rio Olympic medal bid.
Laugher, 21, was dubbed a possible Olympic champion after winning the overall 3m springboard World Series crown in 2015.
However, he has struggled this campaign following a foot injury he sustained during training in January.
"The Europeans is a massive competition for us," Laugher told BBC Sport.
"At the Olympics there's always so much pressure and with all of the crowd in London we'll effectively be replicating that, which is great experience."
Laugher is part of a 14-strong British diving team for the Europeans, which run from 9-15 May and also features Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley.
The host venue - London Aquatics Centre - holds mixed memories for Laugher.
At London 2012 the diver failed to progress from the 3m individual preliminary round following a horror dive, but he and synchronised partner Chris Mears claimed an impressive World Series silver at the venue 12 months ago.
"It's a brilliant pool and to come second last year was amazing given Chris suffered a slipped disc the week before," said Laugher.
The diver now has his own injury problems, having lost a significant amount of skin from the top of his right foot after scraping it on a board just days before the National Cup in January.
|British European diving squad:|
|Thomas Daley (10m, 10m Synchro, 3m Mix), Daniel Goodfellow (10m Synchro), Jordan Houlden (1m), Jack Laugher (3m, 3m Synchro), Matthew Lee (10m, 10m Mix), Chris Mears (3m Synchro), Freddie Woodward (3m, 1m).||Alicia Blagg (3m Synchro, 3m Mix), Tonia Couch (10m, 10m Synchro), Rebecca Gallantree (3m, 3m Synchro), Grace Reid (3m, 1m), Katherine Torrance (1m), Lois Toulson (10m Synchro), Georgia Ward (10m, 10 mix).|
"I'm in a bit of a weird place because my off-season was completely ruined by the injury," he said.
"I've been battling against all the odds and it's been difficult, but that's not to say it won't all come together for the Olympics, so I'm still feeling very confident."
While many eyes will be on the exciting new men's 10m synchronised pairing of Daley and Dan Goodfellow, the women's line-up of Tonia Couch and 16-year-old Lois Toulson also offers genuine medal potential.
After an uneasy start together at the National Cup in January, London Olympic pair Couch and Sarah Barrow were restored as a duo and went on to secure a 10m synchro Olympic berth at the Rio test event in February.
Toulson and Couch have since been restored as GB's preferred pair and they have gone on to claim three medals in four World Series events.
"We struggled at the beginning as Tonia's based down in Plymouth and I'm in Leeds, but she's been great travelling so often," said Toulson, who will sit her first GCSE exams just days after the Europeans.
"School have been really supportive and I'll be studying during the Europeans, but I'm going there hoping to win a medal and I don't think a gold would be out of reach if we dive well."
The first week of the European Aquatics Championships also features synchronised swimming.
Britain will be represented in the duet events by London Olympians Olivia Federici and Katie Clark, who are part of a 12-strong British team that will compete in seven of the nine disciplines.
Source : BBC Sport