EDINBURGH’S Grace Reid is not your average university student – with early starts for diving training the norm rather than late night parties.
But as she prepares to star in London at next month’s European Aquatics Championships, the 19-year-old insists she would not have it any other way.
Despite her relatively young years, Reid has already been on the international scene for a while, having made her Commonwealth Games debut at Delhi 2010 before reaching two finals in front of her home fans four years later.
The last seven months have seen the stakes raised even further, with Reid balancing starting a degree in sports science at Edinburgh University with keeping her performances high during an Olympic year.
It’s so far so good though, with Reid reaching her first world level semi-final at the Rio World Cup February to secure Team GB an Olympic spot in the women’s individual 3m springboard event.
And while university responsibilities continue, attention is also turning to a trip to the English capital for her next big diving assignment.
“I’m so excited that the European Championships are in London,” she said. “I’ve just been trying to keep my head down between now and then, there is a lot of work to be done before the Europeans. Things like injury and illness can crop up.
“Looking back at Rio, I was so happy with how things went. I stepped up when I needed to and also learnt a lot from it.
“I’m so lucky that I get these amazing experiences through diving and get to travel all over the world and it’s important not to take that for granted. I live in a student flat with other 19-year-olds. I’m just like any other normal 19-year-old, although then I might be having coffee with my family and suddenly I realise it’s not that normal.
“With my flat, we are all into sports, so there’s also a rower, swimmer, sailor. While most students are rolling in at three in the morning, we’re getting up to go to training at 6am. But I don’t mind, I love what I do.”
It promises to be a busy schedule for Reid, who is due to compete in both the synchro and individual events in London – returning to the same pool where she won 3m mixed synchro bronze on her World Series debut last May.
The European Aquatics Championships will be the biggest event held at the venue since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and will represent the last chance to see Great British athletes in action before they fly to Rio.
And while Reid’s Olympic fate is yet to be decided for this summer, she is relishing the chance to show what she can do, especially with her nearest and dearest watching on.
“It’s going to be a busy programme but I just want to grab the opportunity with both hands. My mum is coming down to watch too and a friend,” she added.
“With going to university in Edinburgh, it means I’m still close to my family. It’s good from a practical sense.
“When I’ve been away competing I can dump all my kit at my mum’s house and I know I have that support network around me – although I do my other washing, I don’t make my mum do all of it!”
• Tickets for the European Aquatics Championships – the biggest event to be held at the London Aquatics Centre since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games – from May 9-22 are now available here: www.euroaquatics2016.london