Divers Grace Reid and James Heatly to inspire next generation

Grace Reid and James Heatly show off their medals
Grace Reid and James Heatly show off their medals
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Edinburgh Diving Club head coach Jen Leeming believes the medals being brought home from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games by local athletes Grace Reid and James Heatly can inspire the next generation in the Capital.

On Friday Reid, 21, won the women’s 1m gold medal to follow in the footsteps of 20-year-old Heatly who had picked up the men’s 1m bronze two days before that.

They were the first diving medals for Scotland at the Games in 60 years and were backed up by a cracking performance from 16-year-old Lucas Thomson in the men’s 10m event on Saturday to finish fifth.

Gemma McArthur, from down south but who has been training of late in Edinburgh, was also at the Games and made the women’s 10m final.

And Leeming, who was in Australia overseeing the four divers, feels that these performances can give the already large youth section at Edinburgh Diving Club hope that it could be them competting in 2022 in Birmingham.

“I am so happy with the way the guys performed and the two medals because that is obviously a big landmark for diving and great for diving in Scotland and Edinburgh,” Leeming said.

“When we get back to the Commonwealth Pool the young divers in the club will be able to chat with James and Lucas about the experience and no doubt these great role models will have given them something to strive for in the future.

“They can see that these guys are real and that, with a lot of hard work, they can maybe get to big events too. Having heard from some people back home, all the kids were watching and cheering as they saw it on TV and that is great for our sport.”

And she described Reid’s gold as a “stand out” moment of the Games.

“Grace put herself in a good frame of mind after the prelims and seemed to just take confidence from that,” Leeming said of a diver who she coached for many years before Reid moved to London last summer.

“She didn’t let anything distract her, was very single minded and focused in the 1m final and she showed she can compete with anyone in the world.

“She thoroughly deserved her gold medal and James too battled really hard and showed a lot of composure to win his bronze.

“The two of them are also great with Lucas and Gemma and they have been a great team throughout our time in Australia.

“Lucas just turned up in the 10m final and put everything together. He was walking tall and smiling and when he does that his best dives come out.

“Everything we talked about between the prelim and the final he put into practice and I am very proud of him.

“He has just loved this whole experience and lapped it up and I think he has a big future ahead and will only get better and better.

“Gemma also has a lot of potential.”