She may be the only Scot in Great Britain’s 11-strong diving team for next month’s Olympic Games in Rio but Edinburgh teen sensation Grace Reid insists there are no feelings of odd one out as preparations for Brazil hot up.
The 19-year-old former George Watson’s pupil, who now combines her diving career with a sports science degree at Edinburgh University, has been doing her thing in the Capital but insists she feels as much a part of the GB set-up as her English team-mates.
“The Team GB performance director is keeping an eye on me and I’ve had a couple of days with the whole of the team,” said Reid. “It can be difficult being the only Scottish diver and a bit further away. We’re heading out to Tallahassee in the middle of the month for a holding camp, which will be really good.
“They are such a lovely bunch of people and I’ve grown up with them all through my junior days. There is a few experienced heads there and I’m sure they’ll adopt me and show me the ropes. But there’s also a couple of others who I did a lot of juniors with and we’ll be having our first senior Olympics together. The team environment is just fantastic and so nice to be a part of.”
Reid is still basking in the glow of her historic European Championship bronze in the 3m springboard in London, becoming the first Scot to win a medal in that event since the late great Sir Peter Heatly in 1952. She also won gold at the same event in the mixed synchronised – a non-Olympic event – with superstar Tom Daley.
Qualification for Rio was secured at the British trials and Reid says she is happy with how her preparations are progressing.
“It’s going well so far and obviously I’m training hard,” she said. “It was great to qualify but now I’ve got my head down and want to perform as well as I can out there. It’s a hard block of training just now.
“I’m mainly in Edinburgh at the moment, doing three weights sessions a week at Heriot-Watt University with the East Institute and sessions in the pool once, if not twice a day. So it’s really busy but I’m enjoying it.”
Reid placed fifth in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and is delighted to have kicked on in the subsequent two years, making the 3m event her own.
“It’s always been a strong event for me and definitely where my focus has been for the past four years,” she explained. “I love training on that board and I’m obviously doing something right and putting together some consistent performances.
“We always knew a medal was possible at the Euros but it was amazing. With diving it all comes down to getting things right on the day and who falls apart with the pressure. With it being a home crowd there was a lot of pressure. But it was similar in Glasgow and I had that experience to help me step up and perform.”
Having competed alongside Sir Peter’s grandson James Heatly in synchronised events for many years, Reid was well aware of the significance when she stood on the podium in London in May and added: “I was so proud to go and do that representing my country. I always try to just do the best I can do whether it’s an international event or a club event. To walk away with a medal was fantastic.”
Reid was part of the British team which competed in the test event at the Olympic venue earlier in the year and it was the young Scot who secured GB’s place in the women’s 3m springboard, although she had to then go and earn the spot.
She said: “I secured the quota place out in Brazil but had to make the place my own, which I did by winning at the trials, although it was a nervous wait as I didn’t get the score in the morning. But thank goodness I did.
“It’s difficult in that you know you have won the place for the team but that the place could go to anyone. But that’s the way it works.
“The test event was a great experience, we got to trial the boards and the pool and it’s just a fantastic set-up. I’m really looking forward to going back.”
The mixed synchro may not be on the Rio programme but Reid still feels that golden experience with Daley has provided her with a great boost heading towards the Games.
“I’ve known Tom for a long time now,” she said of the London 2012 bronze medal winner. “We’ve trained together and competed together. It’s great to team up with someone of his experience.
“He’s such a fantastic athlete and person in and out of the pool. Getting that chance to compete with him helped me to step up. He’s such an asset to the sport.
“We’re both fiercely competitive and I wanted to show that I could match him. He’s in a league of his own but I wanted to show that I can be as confident as he was. When all the cameras are on him he has this ability to just zone them out and that was interesting to watch.”