James Heatly ‘proud’ as he matches grandfather’s Scots medal haul

James Heatly shows off his medal and trophy after a successful weekend at the Commonwealth Pool. Pic: Neil Hanna
James Heatly shows off his medal and trophy after a successful weekend at the Commonwealth Pool. Pic: Neil Hanna
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Capital diver James Heatly has expressed his pride at equalling the number of individual Scottish national senior titles that his late grandfather Sir Peter Heatly won.

Heatly junior, 20, was involved in the Scottish National and Open Diving Championships at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh between Thursday and Sunday.

Heatly with his grandfather, Sir Peter Heatly. Pic: TSPL

Heatly with his grandfather, Sir Peter Heatly. Pic: TSPL

There was an individual clean sweep by the Edinburgh Diving Club member as he won Scottish titles in the men’s 1 metre, 3 metre and 10 metre events.

It means that he now has 27 individual Scottish national senior titles to his name since he won his first one back in 2009 aged just 12.

And that is the same number of titles that Peter, who passed away in 2015, won himself between 1946 and 1958.

Peter competed for Portobello ASC and won five Commonwealth Games medals and a European Games bronze medal as well as competing at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics.

Elsie Melville, of Portobello ASC and a team mate of Peter’s, still holds the individual record for Scottish national senior titles with 29 between 1952 and 1966.

Reflecting on his achievement, Heatly said: “I was told by my uncle and my dad about grandpa’s number of titles a couple of weeks ago and knew that I was close, but through the meet I was just focusing on one event at a time because this was a good standard of competition and I was keen to try and hit some form.

“On Sunday afternoon it was good to realise that I had equalled my grandpa’s record. When I was young he inspired me a lot and was one of my biggest fans, so I feel proud to be on the same number of individual Scottish titles as him.

“Hopefully in the future I can perhaps go on and win more, but for now I am just focused on a big few months coming up.

“Before this meet I was in Australia for a competition and it perhaps did not go as well as I had hoped, but I was just coming back from injury and it is early in the season.

“I trained well before the Scottish National and Open Diving Championships and I was happy with how things went.

“There were some good divers here and I was perhaps most pleased with my 10 metre performance, because I spend most of my time training for the 1 and the 3 metre events, but I was pleasantly surprised with how I did.”

At the meet Grace Reid, who is from the Capital but now competes for Dive London, was also on good form and the 21-year-old is now up to 16 individual Scottish national senior titles.

Heatly’s Edinburgh Diving Club team mate Lucas Thomson had a good meet and with the Commonwealth Games diving team still to be selected, they will all be getting their heads down and training hard in the coming months.

The Games takes place in Gold Coast in Australia in April and Heatly, who won a bronze medal in the men’s 3 metre synchro event at the European Championships in Ukraine earlier in the year, added: “It was good to be in Gold Coast recently to see the facilities and get used to the area that will be used for the Commonwealth Games.

“I will be training hard now up until Christmas and then in January we have the British Diving Championships taking place in Plymouth at the end of the month. That will be a really top quality meet and will be good to go up against the best guys from down south.

“Just looking back on the Scottish National and Open Diving Championships, I was really pleased to see a healthy field there including a number of divers from England.

“And because there were lots of events for juniors too a number of up-and-coming Edinburgh Diving Club members got exposure to competing at that level and they will have learnt a lot from that.”