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Super-Star: July 2014 Update

11 July 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 over the last six weeks, competing at the World Series in Canada and British Gas Diving Championships in Sheffield.

I'm getting worse at writing these! I need a date on which to write them each month, or some sort of regularity instead of just hopping on my computer when I feel my life is full enough to expend onto hypothetical paper. Six weeks, I think six weeks is good. That's a grand total of eight each year which is far more than enough.

The pool itself was brand new but He Chong managed to break one of the boards on the second day.So the past six weeks of my life have consisted of Canada, Nationals and a whole lot of training. There was a World Series in Windsor, Canada at the end of May. We all flew out from Heathrow, over to Detroit and from there drove across the Ambassador Bridge, and the border, to Windsor.

I felt like I was driving along the bridge to Terabithia: a whole unexplored land awaited me. (FYI there is a film called 'The Bridge to Terabithia'. It's a modern Disney film so don't lose a night's sleep if you haven't heard of it). I had never been to Windsor before and now I wouldn't mind going back again. A river separates Windsor and Detroit, cutting between Canada and the USA. The view of Detroit from Windsor was amazing, and the ideal viewing point was perfectly situated close to the diving pool from an idyllic and typically-American park.

Detriot panoramic view

The pool itself was brand new, meaning the boards were all really good. Not good enough, however, for the legs of He Chong, a Chinese diver with the strength of a copepod (google it), who managed to break one of the boards on the second day. It was all ok though. The polite Canadians assured us there was no one to blame and had it fixed in no time.

After a few days of alternating amazing-awful training, it was time to compete. Alicia [Blagg] and I competed in the 3m individual and finished fourth and sixth respectively in our semi final. The top three go through to the final so neither of us progressed but it was a good competition and we were very close!

So Canada came and went in what felt like three hours but was actually a good seven days. The team split in half upon departure. Half of the team flew south to Monterrey, Mexico, and the other half, which consisted of Alicia, Becky [Gallantree] and myself, flew east to 'sunny England'.  As the three of us had not been pre-selected for any of the summer competitions, we had to compete in the British National Championships and strive to secure a place on the team.

This year Nationals was in Sheffield. The day after we landed, the Wednesday, we hopped in a car to Sheffield and spent the week there. Being the strong warriors that we are meant we wasted no time being jet-lagged. Ha, I am joking we were all pathetically asleep the whole time!

I was happy with the weekend and thankful that two hectic weeks of extreme pressure were over.Anyway, no time to think about staying awake, we had a job to do. My first competition was on the Friday and was the 1m individual. The prelim was not very good but I managed to get through to the final, just, and pulled myself together to score a 20 point personal best and grab the silver medal, behind Rhea Gayle.

My other individual competition was on the Sunday and was the 3m event. The prelim went seemingly ok – it could have gone better and it could have gone worse. I was happy though and competed in the final later that day. One of my best friends came to watch which was awesome because it was her first time watching me dive in real life! The final went alright, I got off to a dodgy start but managed to pull it back and ended up on 326 points, eight points behind Alicia Blagg who dived amazingly and won the event!

Overall I was very happy with the weekend and, most of all, thankful that the two hectic weeks of extreme pressure were over. The team was announced that Friday and I had been selected, along with seven other people from Leeds, to compete in the Commonwealth Games. I am looking forward to it a lot since it will be my first Commonwealths! I also made the team for the World Cup and I am currently sat in China waiting for it to begin.

Aside from all the diving in my life, my age-defining number has increased since the last time I spoke to you. By that, I mean I celebrated my 19th birthday. It was a really lovely time actually. I spent my birthday with my mum and she bought me some really nice clothes which I am very thankful for.

I then went to the Lake District with a couple of my uni friends for the weekend, one of whom was celebrating her birthday on the Saturday whilst we were there. We had such a relaxing time. We strolled up a hill and had a picnic on the top, made a fire for marshmallow smores and a BBQ and spent most of the night lying on the grass star-gazing in the peaceful silence that surrounded us. It was pure bliss.

Hannah Starling holiday

I will leave you with that tranquil scene in your mind. That has been my past couple of months. Thank you for reading my amalgamation of words. I'll be sure to catch you up with World Cup and Commonwealth Games when they conclude.

I wish you a good summer. Cheerio.

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