Can Tom Daley upset favourites China? And what else do you need to know about diving at the 2019 FINA World Championships?

Your one-stop preview for diving at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea, where Olympic gold medallists Shi Tingmao, Ren Qian, and Chen Aisen will be in action

By Andrew Binner

When it comes to diving, China stand head and shoulders above the rest.

The Asian powerhouse swept up an astonishing 7 from 8 gold medals at Rio 2016, before claiming 8 of the 13 titles on offer at the 2017 FINA World Championships.

Olympic champions Shi Tingmao, Ren Qian, Cao Yuan, and Chen Aisen head up China's star-studded team at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, and it is difficult to see them failing to add to their gold medal haul.

Tom Daley is one man that has managed to better his Chinese competition this season, and with several others coming close, there will be no easy victories.

Olympic Channel will be on site in Korea, bringing diving fans the latest news, exclusive interviews and more. Until then, you will find Olympic Channel's day-by-day swimming schedule here and our diving preview below.

Chinese dominance in diving

Wang Han and Olympic gold medallist Shi Tingmao have been on fire in the Women's Synchronised 3m Springboard this season, claiming every event they have competed in on the FINA World Series.

Despite consistent Canadians Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu featuring regularly on the podium in second or third place, the Chinese pair have been in a league of their own and are heavy favourites in Gwangju.

"It’s been a while [since anybody] has beaten the Chinese, especially in the women’s 3m Syncho," Abel told the Olympic Channel podcast.

"[The Chinese] have their goals and I have mine... every year we're getting closer and closer. For me, that’s motivation. It’s a motivation for me because I know I’m getting there. What we're doing, it’s working. We just have to be patient." - Jennifer Abel to Olympic Channel podcast.

Tingmao is also the individual Women's 3m Springboard Olympic champion, so expect the 27 year old to try and secure another double.

Double Olympic champion Cao Yuan has suffered indifferent form in the individual events this season, but it's a different story in the synchro events.

The 24 year old has been unbeatable alongside Xie Siyi in the Men's Synchronosed 3m Springboard, while his partnership with Rio 2016 Olympic champion Chen Aisen in the Men's Synchronised 10m Platform has been equally dominant.

Ren Qian will be hoping to rediscover the form that won her 10m Platform Olympic gold at Rio 2016, but she will face stiff competition in Gwangju from 15-year-old compatriot Zhang Jiaqi.

China's rising star is the early favourite for gold at the 2019 FINA World Championships, having won two titles at the 2018 World Cup, and two individual golds on the 2019 FINA World Diving Series.

Also keep an eye on North Korean 10m Platform Synchro team Kim Jo Jin-mi and Kim Mi-rae, who won the FINA Diving Series leg in Montreal to hand Zhang and partner Lu Wei a rare defeat.

Will Jack Laugher be smiling in Korea?

British duo Jack Laugher and Chris Mears were the only two male divers to beat their Chinese counterparts at Rio 2016, claiming the Men's 3m synchronized springboard gold medal.

While Mears has taken a break from diving (and is expected to return in late 2019), Laugher will be in action in Gwangju, alongside new 3m synchro partner and Olympic bronze medallist Dan Goodfellow.

While the duo have yet to place above third in the FINA Diving World Series 2019, partnerships take time to build and Korea could be the time it clicks.

But it may be in the Individual 3m Springboard event that Laugher makes the biggest splash.

With one gold, two bronze, and a silver in the bank this season, podium finishes have become an expectation for the 24 year old.

Eyes on Tom Daley

After a break from the sport in 2018, Tom Daley returned to shock many with some outstanding form this season.

In the FINA Diving World Series 2019, the double Olympic bronze medallist has recorded a gold, silver, and bronze in the the Individual 10m Platform.

Elsewhere, he won silver and bronze alongside Matty Lee in the Men's 10m Synchronised Platform, and a further silver and three bronze medals in the Mixed 10m Synchronised Platform with Grace Reid.

The Brit attributes his rediscovered motivation to an improved mental state through meditation.

Malaysia's Pandelela Rinong is an outside bet for a podium finish in Gwangju.

The double Olympic medallist sat out the final round of the 2019 FINA Diving World Series in to recover from a back strain, but when fit she has a proven track record of winning medals in the 10m Individual Platform and the 10m Synchro Platform events.

In the Synchro, Rinong will partner Nur Dhabitah Sabri - an individual 3m Springboard bronze winner in the London leg of the world series - due to ongoing injury problems with Rio 2016 Olympic partner Cheong Jun Hoong.

Jennifer Abel hits golden form at the right time

When Jennifer Abel secured her first win of the 2019 World Diving Series in Kazan in May, the diving world took notice.

The Canadian has been the model of consistency in the Individual 3m Springboard event over her long career, but has sometimes struggled to deliver her best dives when it matters most.

After securing Olympic bronze at London 2012 she was expected by most to go event better at the Rio 2016 Games, but left Brazil with two agonising fourth-place finishes.

After making some changes to her mental preparation she has hit the form of her career in this Olympic cycle, culminating in an individual victory that proved she may now have what it takes to win Olympic gold.

"I’m way more mature than I was in the past. I understand things much better. And I know what my goals are," she told Olympic Channel.

"I’m very confident about the world championships because of where I’m standing right now, mentally. Every year, I learn a lot and I'm listening more to myself."

Diving qualification for Tokyo 2020

Out of the 136 spots available for diving at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, several will be decided at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju.

For individual events the top twelve finishers will seal their ticket to Japan, while the top three finishing pairs in the synchro events will also qualify.

Each National Olympic Committee may enter a maximum 16 divers (up to eight males and eight females) for Tokyo, with up to two in each individual event and a pair in each synchro event.

When to watch - Diving at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships

Although the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju take place from 12th to 28th July, the diving events are all in the first week, from Friday 12th to Saturday 20th July. Swimming events take place in the final week, from 21-28 July, and you can read our Olympic Channel preview about those events here.

Don't forget to follow the Olympic Channel's daily live blog from the World Championships in Gwangju.