Home news Tonia Couch: three-time Olympian to take up coaching role after retirement

Tonia Couch: three-time Olympian to take up coaching role after retirement

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Three-time Olympian Tonia Couch has announced her retirement from diving, after a 12-year senior career.Couch, 28, is one of Britain’s most decorated female divers having won silver at Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games in 2014 and three European medals.She last competed at the World Championships in July, but will now take up a coaching role in her home city of Plymouth.

“I’ve achieved more than I ever could have imagined,” she told BBC Sport.Couch made her major international debut at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal when she was just 16, before going on to finish fourth at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, 12 months later.She sees reaching the Beijing 2008 individual 10m platform final in her Olympic debut as one of her career highlights, while she also finished fifth in the synchronised events at London 2012 and Rio 2016.Diving – fully-clothed – into the London Olympic pool with the entire GB team to celebrate Tom Daley’s dramatic bronze was another stand-out moment for her.”Even though it was someone else winning the medal it felt like we all won it,” said the 2012 European champion.”Tom’s been one of my best friends for years and unfortunately his dad [Rob, who passed away in 2011] couldn’t be there, so it was emotional and I felt so lucky to be there with him.”Fellow Plymouth-born diver Daley has spent his entire career on the GB team with Couch and in February the pair finally competed together in the 10m mixed synchronised diving event at the National Cup.

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“Tonia has been my best friend in diving for as long as I can remember and I’m going to miss my best friend coming on trips with me,” Daley told BBC Sport.”She is the most successful British female diver I have ever known and she will leave a lasting legacy in the diving world.”Couch admits the departure of long-term Plymouth Diving head coach and mentor Andy Banks in May was “tough” for her to accept, but that there were other factors behind her decision to step away from competition.”I haven’t enjoyed training as much as I thought I would after the Olympics and it was hard to motivate myself when I’m 10 years or more older than everyone else,” said Couch.”British Diving is in such a great place now though and I’m looking forward to helping develop some of the young talent by teaching them about my experiences at the top.”It’s so special to have that chance here in Plymouth.”Banks, who is now coaching the Australian national team, says it was a “privilege” to work with her during a “prolific” 18-year career and is delighted to see Couch remain in her home city.”Having someone with her knowledge and experience is a great coup for the Plymouth programme and bodes well for the continued success of one of the very best diving centres in the UK,” he told BBC Sport.Couch is due to marry fiancé and Royal Marine Karl Thurgood in November next year and says she is also looking forward to potentially starting a family in the coming years.
Source: Devon BBC