Glasgow 2014: Capital divers set to make a splash

James Heatly and Grace Reid will be well backed in Edinburgh
James Heatly and Grace Reid will be well backed in Edinburgh
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Two Edinburgh teenagers are set for the time of their lives at Glasgow 2014.

James Heatly is following in very famous footsteps and Grace Reid is a Commonwealth Games veteran with an eye on the podium.

And what makes it extra special for diving’s deadly duo is that their events are being staged at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh, the place that they train day in and day out. They both hope it is going to be home sweet home.

Diving is set to be one the most eagerly awaited of the 17 sports. Heading the visiting cast list is Tom Daley – the English lad attracted a real rock star reaction from his fans when he won a World Cup event at the RCP in April last year.

But Reid and Heatly, both pupils at George Watson’s College, will have the majority of the support. The spectator who will stand out from the crowd for young James will be his grandfather. Sir Peter Heatly is one of Scotland’s sporting greats and a winner of five Commonwealth Games diving medals, including gold in 1950 in Auckland, 1954 in Vancouver and 1958 in Cardiff. It will be a hard act to follow.

Having recently celebrated his 90th birthday, Sir Peter is the only Scottish athlete to have won titles at three consecutive Commonwealth Games and is the only Scot ever to claim a diving medal.

But could that change at these Games? Reid, a former European Junior Champion, is certainly a contender for gold, silver or bronze.

“This will be my second Games, so I’ll have a lot more experience and that’s a bonus,” said the 18-year-old, who was the youngest member of Team Scotland at the 2010 Games in New Delhi. “The fact that it is in my home pool is another huge advantage. Compared to four years ago, I am a completely different person. The biggest lesson I learned from Delhi was to treat the Games as just another event. I know it’s difficult, but I just have to think about it as any other competition. As for expectations, I am going to need a clear head, attempt to do a personal best and try not to think about medals or anything else.”

For 16-year-old Heatly, a first Games is a whole new stage. It’s going to be an exciting few days. A diver since the age of ten he admits that his grandfather has played a massive role. “He’s the reason I took up diving and it’s great to be following a family tradition,” he said. “This is my first Commonwealths and it is going to be great to be at home. I know the pool and I’m sure the atmosphere is going to be unlike anything I’ve known before. My goal is to achieve a personal best.”

Reid and Heatly have both been coached by Jenny Leeming at the Edinburgh Club since the Commonwealth Pool’s refurbishment years ago. A former gymnast and diver from Leeds, Leeming is thrilled by their progress.

“They’re both great,” she said. “It has been huge for James to qualify for a Games debut while Grace now has a lot of experience. The women’s diving will be tough with English, Australian and Canadian rivals, but the door is open for her to challenge for a medal.”

For Reid, the last year has been a real challenge. She was ruled out of training by a cyst on her appendix and so has had to battle back to gain her place in Team Scotland.

Following the Games, her next target will be the 2016 Olympics in Rio. She finished school last month and will now be a full-time diver. The Commonwealth Games mark the start of a new chapter – and she’s determined to make it a good one.