Thursday, April 27, 2006

Diving Grand Prix in Zhuhai, China - 06

On the 17th of April 2006, Sharleen, Matt Mitcham, Mat Helm, Scott, Brendan, Hui, Mr Wang and myself headed off to Zhuhai, China. We flew from Brisbane to Hong Kong from there we took an hour long ferry to Macau and then a short bus drive to the Chinese border. So we had lots of forms to fill out and passport control to go through, which was annoying as we were all very tired.
This was my fourth time to China but my first time to Zhuhai. The pool was pretty nice, there were four 1m boards and four 3m boards but we could only use two of the 3m boards due to the television coverage, which was really annoying as there were so many people training on only two boards. On the other side of the pool was the platforms, there was a 1m, 3m, 7.5m and 10m platforms, there was also three 5m platforms.
We stayed at the Zhuhai Hotel, which was nice! I roomed with Sharleen, we were all in a wing together which was handy. The gardens around the hotel were really amazing. There were ponds everywhere which contained heaps of hungry fish. We also had to cross ponds on stepping stones to get to dinner every night.
On Saturday the 22nd Sharleen and I had the women's 3m synchronised event. Sharleen and I were team number six of ten pairs, we were up against two Chinese pairs, and pairing from USA, GB, Macau, Ukraine, Germany, Canada, Korea, and us! We dove well, but not great, our two compulsory dives were a bit off. Our back and reverse twisters were good, and on back 2 1/2 I was a little short and Sharleen was a little over, but synchro was good. We scored 283 points and finished 4th behind the two Chinese pairs and 5 points behind the German girls. Only one of the Chinese teams scores can count, so technically we finished 3rd! We had just enough time to get changed and ready for the medal ceremony, where we were given a beautiful medal and a plush dog - as it's year of the dog. As we were the 2nd place non-Chinese team we also received prize money!!
On Sunday the 23rd, I had the women's 3m event. There were 26 divers in the event, but it went surprisingly quickly as the announcer went extremely quickly through the scores and announcing the next diver. My preliminaries were alright, my 5152 wasn't very good, but I finished 11th and therefore through to the semi finals. I was in semi final B which was pretty tough, I felt like I dove pretty well, my 5152 was much better, unfortunately my reverse went over but it had a very good top. Unfortunately I didn't qualify for finals, so in the end I came 9th.

The next day we went to Macau. The Diving Association of Macau was putting us up for a night and showed us around and fed us in return for a diving performance that night. We stayed at the Grandview Hotel which was pretty swank, and also a casino, in fact Macau is Asians Las Vegas - casinos everywhere. Below is our hotel and one of Macau's many casinos.

The pool at Macau was awesome, it was built last year for the East Asian Games. It was nice and bright and the boards were good too. We arrived at the pool at 7pm, warmed up and had to get use to the boards very quick as our performance started at 8pm. In the performance I had a few compulsory dives (the easy ones) some synchro and some on my own. The majority of my dives were optionals (the hard ones) again some individual and some synchro, including some dives Sharleen and I have never done synchro.

We were lucky enough to see some of the sites of Macau, including some very old building, back from the time when Macau was under Portuguese control. We also ate out at an awesome Portuguese restaurant, which was a nice change from Chinese food.

On Tuesday the 25th we arrived in Hong Kong via ferry. We checked our bags in at Cathay Pacific and had over 10 hours of free time. So naturally we went shopping at the markets, which was great fun.

All in all, it was a pretty tough trip. The events were challenging due to the quality of competitors and the diving environment. It was great to go to Macau and spend some time there, also the diving show was great fun. It was fantastic to see some of the sights of Hong Kong as well, we all got some bargains there.

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