FOR someone who feared they’d never dive again, Jack Laugher has had a pretty stellar 2018.

Following an ankle injury picked up during training, the 23-year-old underwent surgery last November, but that failed to rectify the issue, rendering Laugher almost incapable of diving backwards off the springboard.

Countless hours with the doctors and physiotherapists nursed Laugher back to fitness only a couple of weeks before the Commonwealth Games where he stormed to three gold medals.

And it seems even the most serious of injuries cannot deter the Harrogate diver from the podium places as he won two more golds and a silver at the European Championships in Edinburgh.

That silver came alongside Chris Mears in the 3m synchro and, although Laugher was disappointed to have been edged out by Russia, he is pretty content with how far he’s progressed in 2018.

He said: “I feel I’m in fantastic shape at the moment. Chris is showing some extremely good things and we’ve both been battling injury this year.

“I had an operation on my ankle and Chris has had his back problems for several years now.

“At one point I didn’t think I would even dive again and it was the same for Chris as well.

“After I had the ankle operation, it hadn’t fixed it. It’s still pretty bad but I’m able to cope with it now and we’ve worked really hard with my physio and doctors.

“I was seeing people three or four times a week to get mobilisation in the joint again.

“I only dived backwards again two weeks before the Commonwealth Games. I hadn’t had much preparation whatsoever.

“It’s been a hard year but I think it goes to show that British Diving have a fantastic set up. The doctors, the physios, the coaches, my friends and family have all supported me through it to get to where I am now.”

Laugher was unable to bag a hat-trick of gold medals on Friday after their final dive let Russia snatch top spot on the podium.

He admits the pressure got to the pair but Laugher was pleased with his overall display at the Championships.

He said: “We showed some real strong dives out there. We’re really pleased with how they went.

“There was a little bit of pressure in the final dive unfortunately and we missed out by half a point.

“We cannot be upset, we put our best out there. There’s no shame in failure if you give it an honest effort.”

Elsewhere, in the women’s 1m synchro, Great Britain’s Kat Torrance finished in tenth place.

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