Olympics: Grace Reid begins Games with assured diving display

Grace Reid
Grace Reid
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Exactly one week after these Olympics opened in Rio, Capital diver Grace Reid geared up yesterday afternoon to get her Games under way. Then the curse of the local Green Monster struck again. The lime pool at the open air Maria Lenk Centre returned and the Capital diver had to kick her heels a little long rather than flipping them up and above.

Eventually the clean-up was carried out, although it must have made the 20-year-old think twice. The calm blue waters of the Royal Commonwealth Pool where she trains don’t carry the risk of attack by algae.

But Reid has worked hard for this moment, 16 years since pester power won out when she spotted former Olympian Monique McCarroll practicing when having a paddle and begged her mum for some lessons and a closer look.

With the skies still grey, the Edinburgh University student stood on the 3m springboard and inhaled. The challenge here is that there is no end wall to judge her flight and the sky above to look at rather than a roof. Plus an increased risk of slipping on the board from the rain that poured all morning.

“If you’re spinning, and you see a bright yellow scoreboard at the end of the pool, you might use that to judge where you are every time,” she said. “You know roughly where you are. If you’re outdoors and there’s nothing to look at, that’s awkward. You have to find something else.”

Her first dive had her briefly in sixth. A little short perhaps, but a somersault piked with 2.5 twists and a score of 58.50. Her second leapt up the judges rating, a 60.45 keeping her within sight of today’s semi-final and then in the third round, a prime-time reverse effort from the European bronze medallist and a score of 63.00.

Slipping back to 14th place with one round left, Reid needed only to keep it simple and leap with a last front somersault with a cheeky twist on her final go. Wandering down the board, she took three bounces and soared for a score of 64.50 that sent her one step closer to her target of tomorrow’s final in 14th place. You hope there’s no stopping here now – even the monsters.