Super-Star: May 2014 Update
20 May 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 in April 2014 as she competes at the FINA/NVC Diving World Series legs in London and Moscow.
When it was announced that the World Series would hold a leg in London, I was both happy and extremely apprehensive. I didn't know how I would cope with going back to the Olympic pool and it not be the Olympics. One thing I did know, however, was that there was going to be a home crowd, and that bit I loved.
Stepping out onto the poolside at the Olympic pool was like being sucked back in time through a wormhole.This third leg came so quickly. I did a practice competition mid-April in Amsterdam so I had competition experience ahead of the World Series. Although I still wasn't training properly, diving was going okay when we returned to Leeds and I felt I was just getting back into the swing of things when all of a sudden I was on a bus to London. Don't even get me started on the bus ride, we got lost and it took AGES.
Stepping out onto the poolside at the Olympic pool was like being sucked back in time through a wormhole. Immediately I felt like a different person. I was hit by a tsunami of nostalgia and my emotional self immatured by two years. It was strange, very strange. So many memories were playing out in my head and it was hard to think in the present, but after my first session in the pool I felt more at ease with everything.
I competed in both the synchro and the individual in London which was a change to usual but I was excited to do my first synchro competition for years! Becky and I competed in the synchro on the Friday and it went really well! We ended up third and just pipped the Canadians by 0.4 points to get the bronze medal!! I had absolutely no expectations set for synchro and to come away with my first ever senior international medal was amazing – I was incredibly confused and rather hyper when I realised we had finished in a podium place!
There wasn't any time to celebrate though and we had to get straight to sleep to rest for Saturday. The semi finals were in the morning. I was struggling with pains in my legs which had begun on the Wednesday so I wasn't in the best place mentally going into the competition. I enjoyed it nonetheless. The organising team were good with the decorations and building up the atmosphere.
It was so awesomely dramatic and as soon as I got on the board, the crowd cheered me on and put me in 'the zone', which was where I needed to be. I dived quite well, just slightly missing one of my dives, and I finished in fourth place with 309 points. I was six points shy of qualifying, but Maria Marconi did an amazing dive to finish on and just go ahead of me, so I accepted my defeat gracefully. I spent the rest of the day watching the diving and shopping in Westfield – another bonus of having the competition in London is the awesome shops!
We headed straight from London onto Moscow. I hadn't been to the pool in Moscow and was looking forward to it, despite having heard nothing but bad reviews of it. I actually quite like the pool there, it's big and the springboards are really nice. We also spent an afternoon roaming Moscow with one of the locals which I really enjoyed!
My competition was alright and I dropped one dive, but still broke the 300 point barrier so I had nothing to be disappointed about!Unfortunately the Red Square was closed due to some Parade preparations for their Victory Day on 9 May, but we went around there anyway and after I went to visit the University as I had heard it was really nice – it didn't disappoint and it looked kinda like the Disney Castle!
All the divers (not just the Brits) were so tired from the travelling which made the first couple of days of training out there quite funny. Some people did silly dives because they were so exhausted and we all laughed about how the only thing we wanted to do was sleep!
The atmosphere compared to London was what can only be described as frighteningly dull. As athletes, we are accustomed to competing in all sorts of environments. Some are more stretching than others and this was definitely at the harder end of the spectrum. My competition was alright and I dropped one dive, but still broke the 300 point barrier so I had nothing to be disappointed about! I finished fourth again in my semi final so I didn't progress to the final again but I was happy to be back on the international circuit.
Now we have to be back on top form again next week as we head to Windsor, Canada. It is another place I have never been to so I am excited to see what it will bring. In the meantime it is nice to be back to full training again after my injury and refreshing to be enjoying myself every day!
I've decided to leave you with a rubbish joke which I personally find rather funny. Answer it yourself - What do you get if you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?