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Super-Star: April 2013 Update

8th April 2013

Teenager Hannah Starling reached the 3m Springboard semi-final on her Olympic debut at London 2012. She fills us in on her progress in 2013, competing at the FINA/Midea Diving World Series for the first time.

2013, let's see what you have brought me so far...

January arrived and so did my A-Level exams, all four of them. Sure that doesn't seem like many but try and fit 19 hours of diving in a week as well as three A-Levels and an AS, two of which by the way are in Maths, and you have yourself a challenging life.

Never to worry. I had already qualified for Beijing and Dubai World Series and March was to bring them to life.

Throw a sliver of snow in there and add a slip of the feet which causes one to hurt their wrist, to enable a much worse month.

Up next, it's February! The month of the dreaded British Gas National Championships, ooooo. Alas, in my case, the competition was forbidden. For the woes of my fall had been too much and my wrist wasn't up for it. Sad times.

Oh well, never to worry. I had already qualified for Beijing and Dubai World Series and March was to bring them into my life.

I was up at 6.30am on the 10th March, stumbled into my clothes and dragged myself down the stairs. What felt like years later, we landed in Beijing, passing through Dubai airport and seven films along the way. (FYI, Pitch Perfect is amazing!)

Beijing was an incredible trip for me. My sister, who is at university in China, came along to the pool to watch my event. I finished fourth in my 3m women’s individual semi-final and then when they put the two semi-finals together I finished 7th overall.

I really enjoyed my first experience at a World Series and to make it even better GBR got a medal on the first day!! Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree dove amazingly in their event to grab a silver medal for Britain, yayyy!

On our day off in Beijing we drove to the Great Wall with the two American divers and my sister. It was amazing to see The Wall and the sheer scale of it was just unbelievable. Being able to share that with Alicia (basically my sister) and my real sister (called Amelia) made it so much more enjoyable!

Before I knew it, I was on a plane again, this time to watch 'Argo' and be trapped with no room whatsoever for just over an hour during the seven hour flight. In fact, I took a photo of my oh-so-comfortable seating arrangement and I present it for you to feast your eyes.

Anyway, we left the airport and were greeted by the blinding sun and an array of fascinating man-made towers, which is known as Dubai. The pool in Dubai was in a strange and peculiar place. How can I put this, oh, I know. It was in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere being a vast expanse of sand and camels. In the middle of this nowhere was a diving pool, surrounded by grass. Don't worry, it was as confusing as it sounds!

When you are stood next to the building of the pool, you feel like you are somewhere and then you look beyond the grass and out into the tan-coloured oblivion (the desert) and your feeling wildly changes. But I was there to compete, and not to judge the scenery.

The competition went well and I qualified for the final *happy dance*. The final was an experience for me, it was my first World final and I went out to enjoy it, which I did!

I dropped one dive, the dive that is usually my best, so I was slightly annoyed about that but it didn't matter. I still came fifth and loved the competition. We spent our last day in Dubai lying in the sun and to those of you who will say 'it's not fair, you get to travel all around the world and go to all these fantastic places', I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that I spend roughly 20 hours a week diving and have absolutely zero time for a social life. So yeah, I think it is fair and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Moving onto April, the month of Spring, and yet snow is still on the ground. I am bamboozled by this weather. Coming up after this Easter break I have Edinburgh World Series which I am super-excited about! A lot of fans who are on Twitter have bought tickets and I cannot wait to get out in front of the crowd and do what I love doing!

In the meantime, however, you will find me working my backside off trying to catch up on my school work (a drawback from going away) and if I'm not doing that, I shall be half-dressed and spinning into water.

Until next time, goodbye.

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