Thursday, December 2, 2021

Strong start from Heatly on opening day of diving championships

The Scottish National & Open Diving Championships returned to the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh today, with James Heatly taking victory in the 1m springboard with a new personal best score of 407.45 points.

Edinburgh Diving Club’s Heatly, who made his Olympic debut in Tokyo earlier in the summer showed great consistency throughout his programme of dives, with his best score of the afternoon coming in the penultimate round, with 73.10 for his Inward 2½ Somersaults, Pike. His total score of 407.45, was not only a PB, but was well within the qualifying standard for the event for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Heatly said of his performance,

“It is really nice to be back. For the past year and a half, the focus has all been on the three metre so it’s nice to get back down on the one metre board. I’ve a lot of love for the one metre, I do really enjoy it. I’ve not done those dives in competition for a while so I’m feeling happy.

“It is Commonwealth Games year so the goal is to hit all those qualifying standards. It is good to have the one metre box ticked and that was actually a PB for me as well. First competition back, a PB, it’s a really great starting point for the year ahead.”

Speaking about Tokyo and his desire to keep improving, Heatly said,

“The Olympics was an amazing experience. The plan was never to stop after 2020, it was always to go onto the Commonwealth Games and the Paris cycle. There was never a question about stopping. No, I wasn’t too happy with all my performances in Tokyo, I’m still quite gutted about that 3m final. I know that was not my peak and I know there is way more in me and I really don’t want to stop until I showcase the best performance I can do.

“I’ve learned a lot the last year, with my main learning being staying event ready. Pre-Covid I was on track and I was making good progress to securing that Olympic spot. Then I had to reset and start again from scratch in such a strong field. The best preparation going forward is about me feeling comfortable about being uncomfortable. That’s the best way I can put it.”

Heatly took the title with training partner, Yona Knight-Wisdom (Jamaica) winning silver and Ross Haslam (City of Sheffield Diving Club) securing the bronze medal.

Fellow Olympian, Grace Reid (Dive London Aquatics Club), was only four points away from the Team Scotland qualifying standard for the event in Birmingham. The 25-year old finished on 254.60 points to take silver in the 1m Open event, just behind City of Sheffield Diving Club’s Yasmin Harper. Clara Kerr (Aberdeen Diving Club) won bronze.

Reid said,

“I think that’s the first time in a long time that I’ve enjoyed competing, and it was really consistent which is not something I’ve had in a while. I think that was a good start to what is effectively a new season.

“I took a lot of time to see what I wanted to do. I made some decisions about going forward and it came down to the fact that this is what I still want to do, which is great. Taking the time has allowed me to fall back in love with the sport.

“I’ve a new training regime which sees me travel up to Edinburgh quite a lot more than before. That’s for my studies and those studies have given me more balance, I’m seeing more people, the pandemic is easing a little bit. It’s small changes but they’re good.

“The pandemic was so hard for so many people on so many levels and I did really struggle. I had no balance, no life away from the pool so it was a really intense time. I’ve now got focus in and out of the pool and I’m a lot happier a person for it.”

Diving results from the Meet can be found on Dive Recorder.

The Scottish National & Open Diving Championships are at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh from 2-5 December.