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Super-Star: November 2013 Update

9 December 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, making a decision about university and attending the 2013 ASA Swimtastic Awards.

So my favourite question to be asked last month was “how's the Maths course going?", quite simply because the inquisition and confusion on said persons face when I replied “oh yeah I switched to Medical Engineering” was always brilliant.

Then went the whole “Maths just wasn't right” conversation which always ended with “well as long as you're happy I guess you gotta do what you gotta do” and a wish of good luck.

This month, however, my favourite question is “so how's the new course going?” because mwahahahaa little evil me slyly drops in that tiny, insignificant bit of intelligence that is “yes, well, ermm... I don't go to uni anymore”.

Extremely confused awkward silence for a good 10 seconds is a classic response in which I simply bask in the glory of my new found freedom. Now that is always fun.

I worked really hard throughout school to get the grades I did, as well as training hard at diving, so I never really had any time to myself.So there you have it. I am no longer studying at the University of Leeds. In fact, I am no longer studying.

The stress of having switched course so late into the term, which meant five weeks of catching up as well as a constantly changing timetable was too much for me.

I came to realise that what I really wanted was to just chill. Ha, it sounds so teenager-ish saying that. I know I could have easily caught up if I'd really put my mind to it, but to be honest I just wanted to relax and be care free for once in my life.

I worked really hard throughout school and especially in sixth form to get the grades I did, as well as training hard at diving, so I never really had any time to myself.

This year I'm giving myself a break. A break from stress, a break from deadlines, a break from work. Just a complete break.

And these past two weeks have been incredible. It is so nice actually having time and space to do what I want. Obviously I don't want to get bored so I am going to do all the things I have been wanting to for ages. I have decided to teach myself how to play the guitar and am currently in the process of picking which language I want to start learning.

I don't want my brain to completely stop working while I take my gap year. Ah yes, I should mention that I have deferred my place at university. I haven't dropped out. I am planning on starting Medical Engineering again next year and this time I will start from the beginning; the best place to start.

So aside from that negligible change in my life, there was also the 1m & 5m competition at the beginning of November. Everyone on the British Team, and many other divers, congregated in Southend on Halloween.

I cannot tell you how happy I was that I didn't have to dress up or engage in any creepy activities for Halloween. It scares me so much. Anyway, the weekend was good and my 1m competition went well. I competed a new dive so it was a bit more scary than a usual competition but either way it was still fun! I also loved being around all the team again, we hadn't seen each other for ages and it is always a good laugh when we are together!

Hannah Starling Swimtastic Photo Booth

The Swimtastic Awards were this month too and Alicia and I were fortunate enough to be invited down to them. We drove down to Birmingham for the Awards evening on the 16th. Unfortunately we couldn't take part in the whole day because we had to train in the morning. James Denny and Yona Knight-Wisdom were already down there, having done the morning activities in the pool.

The evening was so much fun! I learnt a lot about the achievements of so many people, from lifesavers to fundraisers and those who had sacrificed years to dedicate themselves to their local swim scheme. It was really inspirational.

I had an amazing time and really enjoyed hearing about the outstanding things people had been doing throughout the year.Alicia and I sat together on a table and were talking to the nominees and their families over the dinner (which was absolutely gorgeous). I got to know a girl called Eloise who was sat next to me. She was the sister of a nominee and had come down to support her brother who was up for Disability Swimmer of the Year.

After the food and the prizes, there was a disco, wooo!! Gemma Field and I were the first people on the dancefloor and stayed there for a good three hours, it was so much fun!

I really hope I get invited back next year. I had an amazing time and really enjoyed hearing about the outstanding things people had been doing throughout the year.

I highly doubt much will change in my life now. I am a full time diver and plan on staying that way for now.

Apart from that I am really excited for Christmas and cannot wait for December! My next blog shouldn't include much shocking news, but you never know, I am always one to be changing my mind.

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