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Jack Laugher: I’ve learnt a lot since I was that little boy in Delhi

With a home Commonwealth Games just around the corner, we take a look at the athletes who will be competing for Team England this summer.

Five-time Commonwealth gold medallist Jack Laugher is looking forward to representing Team England once again this summer.

Laugher, who made his Commonwealth Games debut back in 2010 at the games in Delhi, says he’s changed a lot since then but is still excited to be representing his country.

He said: “Obviously I’m extremely happy to represent Team England for my fourth Commonwealth Games.

“I feel like I’ve learnt a lot since I was that little boy in Delhi, times have changed.

“I’m very proud to be part of such an amazing team and I’m really happy to see the faces of those who are getting ready for their first Commonwealth Games and them getting to relieve the moment I felt when I was only 15 years old.”

After competing at London 2012, Laugher is no stranger to a home crowd, but after last year’s Olympics, he says he can’t wait to have spectators supporting him and his teammates.

He said: “It’s going to be amazing, obviously with no crowd and we couldn’t even have our parents at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics so it’s been a bit surreal really.

“I think for the first multi-sport games to have crowds back and having people cheering and being behind you is really exciting and I can’t wait to have them supporting us.”

Importance of grassroots clubs

The City of Leeds Diver came through the talent programme and pathway and is thankful to all those who helped him on his journey, especially his first ever pool and club in Harrogate.

Laugher said: “Harrogate district diving club was where I started which is a small grassroots pool.

“Without that pool, I wouldn’t be here today.

“It was extremely important in getting my journey started and without them all the success I’ve had with Team England and Team GB wouldn’t have happened so I can’t stress the importance of grassroots clubs enough.”

Laugher has been on top form so far this year with three golds at the British Diving Championships followed by a further silver and bronze medal at the recent World Championships in Budapest.

He comes into this competition with some good momentum as he looks to propel himself to even more success with the lion on his chest.

“I’ve been really happy with my performances so far this year but there were still a lot of things I could improve upon which I’m really grateful for,” he said.

“It’s been good to get some competitions under my belt because we’ve had so little in recent years but they’ve gone really well.

“I’m really pleased with how I did and my mindset throughout so I’m hoping to use the lessons that I’ve learnt from them and utilise them going into the Commonwealth Games.”

Sharing the knowledge

As one of the more experienced members of the squad, Laugher’s been sharing his knowledge with the younger members of the squad, saying that the Commonwealth Games is the perfect place for them to just relax and enjoy themselves.

He said: “The Commonwealth Games is an amazing event to test the waters for a multi-sport games.

“We’re so lucky that we get three athletes per event so it gives these young divers the opportunity to compete at a multi-sport games.

“I think for them they just need to soak it all in and enjoy the experience.

“Obviously you want to go out there and do a good job but don’t take it too seriously and just enjoy it and learn from the experience as much as possible.

“It’s a great environment to be a part of and I think they’re all going to have a good time.”

As Britain’s most successful diver, Laugher has become an inspiration to many youngsters and is hoping that this year’s games can see another swell of support come in for the sport.

Laugher said: “Every time that diving is on TV there’s a massive surge in people applying to being a part of diving squads and learn to dive schemes which are so important.

“I came through a learn to dive scheme and I think it’s amazing to get diving on the TV and to get people to see and understand the sport a bit more.

“People love diving, and when it’s on in the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games, it’s a really good sport to watch.

“I’m hoping it brings more people into the sport and getting them to stay healthy and improve their fitness too.”

You can see Team England’s full diving squad here.

Photo credit: Team England.

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