MAKING a big splash is normally frowned upon in diving, but, metaphorically at least, Grace Reid has done just that, with the Capital diver taking gold in the 3m springboard and bronze in the 1m springboard at the British Gas Diving Championships in Plymouth.
The Edinburgh-born 16-year-old made a massive improvement from last year’s event, where she only finished fourth in the 3m and didn’t compete in the 1m, and the Edinburgh Diving Club teenager has put her most recent success down to home comforts.
Reid did a lot of travelling last year and she feels that spending more time in Edinburgh and at the new Commonwealth Pool has helped her settle and get the best out of her ability. “It’s a massive improvement compared to last year,” she told the Evening News. “I used to have to travel a lot more and now I’m more settled, so I think that’s reflected in how I’ve been diving.
“I’m in Edinburgh all the time and I have a life. The facility I train at is wonderful. For a diver, it’s everything you need.”
Certainly, her performance mirrored that of a content athlete. The medal haul she took from Plymouth means she is in contention for a slot at the FNA World Championships, which will be held between July and August in Barcelona.
She didn’t quite meet the qualifying standard, but will get more chances to do so and build on what she called an “unbelievable” achievement.
“That was intense,” Reid said of winning the 3m. “It was an unbelievable final.
“I just took it dive by dive and kept calm and a steady head and my coach was helping me through it.”
Reid was less buoyant about her bronze medal, as she topped the prelim rounds, but she remained philosophical.
“It’s always tough going into a final in first place as it’s hard to keep it up, so I just wanted to go out and dive well,” she said. “I could have done a couple of things better – everyone here tries to perfect things – so I’m going to go away and try to make things better.
“Overall, I’m pleased. I just did everything I had to do and more, which surpassed anything I ever expected. I just wanted to go out and dive well, so I’m really happy.”
The World Championships, as alluring as they may be, aren’t Reid’s sole focus at the moment. She wants to target success at the European Juniors and says she and her coach, Jenny Leeming, have a strategy set out for the season.
“Me and my coach have short, mid and long-term aims, so at the moment it’s just getting new dives and trying to increase my difficulty, so I have a chance of pushing a couple of the older girls,” she explained,
“I’m aiming for the European Juniors, but first of all I have to qualify, so it’s just loads of competitions and trying to make sure you’re always on top form.”
Reid, however, isn’t the only Scottish diver bursting on to the scene, and now that Edinburgh has a new world class training facility at the Commonwealth Pool, Reid predicts a bright future for Scottish diving.
“It’s still early days, but our coach Jenny Leeming has a massive talent ID going on, so it’s only a matter of time before you see lots of new ones coming in.”
• British Gas is the principal partner of British Swimming and supports diving in Britain. This spring British Gas is launching Swim Britain, a campaign to create a healthier nation and get more people swimming regularly by 2015. Visit www.facebook.com/BGSwimming