Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Diving Grand Prix in Ft Lauderdale, USA - 06

On the 7th of May 2006, the Australian Diving team headed off to Fort Lauderdale in Florida for the US leg of the Grand Prix circuit. The team included Hui, Mr Wang, Dr Song, Brendan, Loudy, Alex, Sharleen, Matt, Scott and myself. We first flew to LA and then on to Dallas, and finally to Ft Lauderdale airport.
We stayed at the Sheraton, and I roomed with Loudy. The only problem was that we had to walk to the pool which was a kilometre away, it was very hot and we would walk back and forth from the hotel to the pool several times a day. Below is the view from the hotel room.
The pool was pretty old but still good. The weather was generally good, not too windy. The pool was a block back from the beach, in a beautiful location. Competition started on the 11th of May, but my events were on the 12th. First up was my 3m event, there were 28 girls in the event and I was lucky number 13, and even luckier was that I was diving after Li Ting. The weather for the competition was the worse it had been since we had been in Ft Lauderdale, it was windy and raining. I stuffed up my front 3 1/2, but all my other dives were good. I just missed out on semi finals by 0.15 points, so I finished unlucky number 13!
Later that day Sharleen and I had the 3m synchro event. There were 11 teams in the event and we were number 6, diving after the Brazilian girls. The weather was a bit better, still pretty windy. We dove pretty well, the only dive that wasn't great was reverse twist, but we still scored 7 and 7.5's for it. In the end we finished 2nd, behind the Chinese, in 3rd place were the Italian girls. Our trophies were presented by Klaus Dibiasi, he won the Olympic men's platform event three times in a row from 1968 to 1976, and a total of five Olympic medals. Look at that perfect synchro below.
On the 13th of May, Greg Louganis and other Olympians including many gold medallists were at the pool. I spoke to both Greg and Dr Sammy Lee, Dr Sammy won the platform event at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, he also coached Greg to the silver medal at the 1976 Olympics. I had a photo taken with Greg but it came out pretty blurry unfortunately.
Next to the pool was the International Swimming Hall of Fame - which also including diving, water polo and synchronized swimming. They had the biggest collection on memorabilia, from tracksuits and swimsuits to books and film, also medals and trophies. Below is Dawn Fraser's tracksuit and swimsuit, also Greg Louganis's dive sheet from the 10m event at the 1984 Olympics.
We spent some time at the Fort Lauderdale beach which was beautiful. We had lots of fun at the beach and got a little burnt too, we also saw several huge cruise ships going in and out of the Ft Lauderdale docks.
Scott and I also had an outing to Hooters for some lemonade and cheesecake, it was fun and even felt a bit naughty!
Then all too soon it was all over. We were off to the airport before the final dinner which is a beautiful cruise around Fort Lauderdale - that was really disappointing. We flew from Ft Lauderdale to LA, and then off to Brisbane.
The competition was tough and the weather was challenging, I had some good results and a few disappointments too. All in all great fun, I wish we could have stayed a few days longer.

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