Super-Star: April 2014 Update
3 April 2014
Teenager Hannah Starling reached the 3m Springboard semi-final on her Olympic debut at London 2012 and the 3m final at the 2013 World Championships. She fills us in on her progress from March 2014 as she continues her recovery from injury ahead of the FINA/NVC Diving World Series in London.
March was a good month. I've started diving again, I've travelled across the world and I've competed in my first competition of the year.
You could argue that it couldn't have gone better and I would simply let you win because it couldn't have gone better and I want to re-live it all again. I'll start at the beginning and with the fundamental ingredient of my life, the diving.
It is so much better actually being able to dive and the effect it has had on me mentally has been awesome.Complications with my ankle meant I wasn't doing jumps throughout February and then my shin started niggling so I asked to have a scan just to check. I was so worried about the result that as I saw Edwin [Jongejans, Hannah's coach] pick up his phone and take the call, my heart started thumping so hard I didn't think my rib cage would hold it in.
I was picturing it flying across the pool, having burst out of me, and causing me to fall in slow motion, my eyes blurring whilst people stare in horror, confused and shocked as to what just happened. Fortunately that didn't happen and my blood pumping organ is still situated inside my chest.
No, instead, the scan came back clear and at the end of February I started doing dives again. Since then I've slowly been building up the amount of dives I do. It is so much better actually being able to dive and the effect it has had on me mentally has been awesome. I can finally think straight and everything has fallen into place. Diving is such a huge part of my life and it is so good to have it back!
Soon after my first dives, it was time to pack the bags and head down to Heathrow Terminal 3, ready for the Beijing and Dubai legs of the Diving World Series. I really enjoy travelling. It gives me time by myself to do what I want and get lost in my thoughts. Plus, on Emirates flights, they have awesome crackers which I absolutely love!
I asked one of the flight attendants if she would let me have any spares as soon as we got on the plane (cheeky, I know) and after I fell asleep I woke up with four packets of crackers in the seat pocket in front of me. I was so thankful!
Due to our injuries, Chris Mears and I didn't compete in Beijing or Dubai but nevertheless it was fun. In Beijing, Alicia Blagg and I suffered from extreme jet lag problems. One night we could not sleep. We watched a film and then tried to sleep until we both realised it was pointless. So we went out onto the internet (only available in the corridors of the hotel) to video call Yona [Knight-Wisdom, Leeds teammate] and a few other people from England.
That took us to 3am so we decided to try and sleep, after all we did have to wake up at 7:30. We still couldn't and I honestly don't know what we did, but somehow it was 5:45am when at last we drifted off.
Safe to say that day of training was near impossible. Then the competitions started and the whole team competed well. Tom Daley, Tonia Couch, Matty Lee and Dan Goodfellow all got bronze medals, a result which Matty and Dan achieved again when we were in Dubai.
Dubai was in the same pool in the middle of nowhere as last year. A random piece of incredible architecture dropped in a desert. It was strange. I've come to the conclusion that Dubai is a real life-sized game of Sim City 3000. If you've ever played it, you'll know that when you first play, you have an area for everything – the posh area, the industrial area, the housing area, the shops. Sometimes, if you are feeling really adventurous, you have two shopping areas and they have different kinds of shops, but one is always better than the other.
I took it up to the rooftop pool and iced my ankle while I lay back and stared in silence at the stars. It was so peaceful.You try and build as many things as possible at the start so the entire place is a construction site. Okay, now picture that in human form and you have Dubai! The hotel was fantastic and it had a rooftop pool. One night I awoke in search of ice, needed for some extremely itchy rashes I got from using physio tape on my ankle.
After many strange looks from the hotel staff, I ended up with a bucket of ice. The problem was I couldn't take it back to the room because Alicia was sleeping, so I took it up to the rooftop pool and iced my ankle while I lay back and stared in silence at the stars. It was so peaceful. I wish so much to go back to that night and be under the stars again. Unfortunately, I don't own a TARDIS.
The trip was over so soon and we came back in time for the G-Star competition this last weekend. I competed in the 3m on Friday, finishing fifth in the prelims and winning the final!
I was so happy and being back on the boards again was fun, even though I wasn't feeling ready for it beforehand. I have many more competitions to look forward to in April.
I am going to Amsterdam next week to practice competing in the Amsterdam Cup so that at the end of April I will enjoy the World Series in London. I'm so happy that it is in London because it means we get a home crowd! I absolutely love home crowds and am so thankful that UK Sport started the Gold Event Series (which allows athletes to compete in 2012 venues) otherwise it might not have been in the Olympic pool! So go buy some tickets!
I reckon March has been so good that I'll share my favourite kind of cheese with you. 'Wensleydale and Cranberry' by Shire Vale is it's name and it is absolutely fabulous. If there are any managers of Shire Vale reading this, I would absolutely LOVE some cheese please!