With the Olympic Trials drawing closer my training over the past few weeks had going very well. Together with my coach we were making any necessary changes to my dives in order to perfect them. As I had made some big improvements on two of my more difficult, higher tariff dives it was decided that they were now ready to compete in major competitions. I can’t begin to explain whether I was feeling more nervous or excited as the competition got closer as I just wanted to perform well and be selected for Team GB at the 2012 Olympics.
As the Olympic Trials were taking place at the pool in Ponds Forge in Sheffield the Leeds divers did some training sessions there during the two weeks prior to the competition. This enabled us to acclimatise to a different pool and for me to get used to the newly widened 10m platform board. Apart from not doing any weights sessions in the two weeks prior to the Olympic Trials there was no difference to my training schedule – 25hrs over 6 days in a week.
Being advised and supported by nutritionist, a sport psychologist and a life style manager was also a huge help. Obviously life for the past month has been training, eating, sleeping and just a little bit of work. Social events have been on hold until after the competition.
One day in the week prior the British National Championships/Olympic Trails competition there was a media day at the pool. All the Olympic hopeful divers at Leeds Diving Club were filmed and interviewed by a Japanese Film Crew, BBC Leeds, Look North and the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Team Leeds arrived in Sheffield on the Wednesday before the competitions started on the Friday. We had two training sessions on both the Wednesday and Thursday and a Team meal on the Wednesday evening. The team atmosphere was good but we were all beginning to feel nervous.
The competitions started on the Friday with the mens and womens 3m springboard and 10m highboard synchro events. The spectators and the atmosphere was fantastic. As I was not competing until the next day I was able to soak up the atmosphere and be prepared for the enthusiasm of the spectators, which was by far the best of any British National competition I have ever competed in. It’s true evidence that diving is becoming a much more popular sport in our country.
Final my competition day arrived and again I can’t describe how I was feeling. I knew that this was my final chance to perform well enough to be selected for Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics and I wanted to do it well. I was up early to train, which went well. The atmosphere at the pool was once again fantastic. I watched my younger brother David compete in some of the first completion of the morning, the mens 3m springboard prelim before I went to warm up and get ready for my competition.
Then it was my competition! Womens 10m Highboard. The rush of adrenaline I had and the spectator’s enthusiasm was amazing. I was feeling quite nervous but used techniques that my sports psychologist had taught me to control my nerves. My prelim competition went really well. I performed every dive well and qualified for the finals in 3rd place. I was elated as I was only 1.50 points off 2nd place and 11.55 points off 1st and I got a new Personal Best score (343.85). My coach was really pleased with my performance as I was going through to the final in a strong position. All I had to do was repeat my performance in the finals that afternoon. Unfortunately my finals competition did not go as well as the prelim and I ended up coming 7th. I was really disappointed and frustrated with myself as I knew at this point I would not be selected for the Olympic Team. To pull myself round I looked at what I had achieved – a new PB, competed two new high tariff dives to a very high standard (scored 8’s & 9’s on my inward three and a half somersaults) and had been selected as a possible Olympic diver.
Although I have not made the Olympic Team I am more determined to put every effort into my diving career, work hard with my coach and all of the British Diving support staff to improve my diving even more. Then hopefully I will make it onto the Commonwealth Team in 2014 and the Olympic Team in 2016.
I now have a week off training but when I return I will be set new training schedule and my new goals for the next year.