Triple treat as Kovchenko, Barnard and Carter prepare for Commonwealth Games

13 Feb 2018

HARD work and consistent results in elite competition have earned SASI divers Taneka Kovchenko, Matthew Barnard and Matthew Carter a place in Australia's 14-strong diving team for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast between April 4 and 15.

The team, recently announced by Commonwealth Games Australia, features a mix of experience and youth with seven athletes, including Kovchenko, Barnard and Carter, making their Commonwealth Games debut.

Barnard, 22, is based in the United States and had been diving for the University of Minnesota. He is expected to compete in the 10m event at the Games.

Young star Carter, 17, was thrilled with his selection.

''I'm stoked to make the team,'' Carter said.

''The trials were everything I had hoped for and went well. To be on home soil will be great and to have that support will be special.

''I'm heading into the Games feeling good.

''It's a bit early to tell how I might go but there are some amazing divers and everyone has such great fun when they compete.''

Carter, who will attend a training camp in March, is expected to compete in the 1m, 3m and 3m synchro with Domonic Bedggood who won a gold medal at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Kovchenko also was excited to be in the team and was hoping for a top showing in her events which include the 10m and 10m synchro with champion Melissa Wu.

Wu will compete in her fourth Commonwealth Games at just 25 years old, capturing the imagination of the public with a silver medal in her first Games in Melbourne in 2006.

Wu has been worried by injury but Kovchenko said the duo was looking at a positive preparation.

''Melissa is improving on her strength as we go,'' Kovchenko said.

''It will be nervewracking competing at home but we are ready to show Australia what we can do.''

Kovchenko will receive a strong grounding leading into the Games with a training camp and world series events in China and Japan where the best synchro divers in the world are expected to compete.

National coach Michel Larouche, who will retire from his position at the end of the Commonwealth Games, said the SASI athletes had done a great job to make the team.

''It’s been a great accomplishment and exciting for all of them and certainly for Taneka to make the diving team in two events, the women's platform and women's synchro platform after only 3 1/2 years of diving on the 10m platform,'' Larouche said.

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Matthew Carter