Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Diving Grand Prix in Zhuhai, China - 07

On the 8th of April, the Australian team headed off to Zhuhai, China. The team included: Sharleen, Natasha, Melissa, Kathryn, Peter, Scott and me. Support staff included: Hui, Xiangning, Dr Song and Margaret. It was my fifth time to China and my second time to Zhuhai.We stayed at the Paradise Hill Hotel which was just down the road from where we stayed last year. The accommodation was good, I roomed with Tash and Mel, which was good fun. The food wasn't too bad either, I still haven't tried the chickens feet or pigeons head.

Both of my synchro events were on the 14th. First was 10m synchro with Mel, we both dove quite well to finish in 2nd place, behind the Chinese, and the Brits were in 3rd place. Next was the medal ceremony, after that was over Sharleen and I did one dive before we were kicked off the boards. It was the first time I had a one dive warm up. Sharleen dove really well, my diving felt good except for 205B which was over. We came 2nd, again behind Chinese and Russia was in 3rd. We won prize money for both of the synchro events, first place foreigner gets 4000 RMB to share, so in total I got 4000 RMB from the two events.

On the 16th we left China, via Macau to Hong Kong, where we had a whole day, before making our way to the airport in the evening. We all went shopping at Kowloon to a place called the Ladies Market, which sells pretty much everything. I bought all sorts of bits and pieces: iPod socks, headbands, shoes, tops, handbag. Then I went and got a manicure, only to find that I couldn't find my wallet. Lucky I had prize money in my bag, otherwise I would have been in a bit of bother. Very annoying but there was nothing I could do about it, so I tried to enjoy myself again. At a place called Mong Kok I had my first Krispy Kreme Doughnut - a glazed doughnut with chocolate icing and sprinkles, it was very sweet but really good! At 8pm we caught the train to the airport and looked around all the duty free shops there, Sharleen and I both bought some really nice sunglasses! The flight back wasn't too bad, got on and had some supper then slept until breakfast.
All in all it was a great trip. The preparation for this competition was very average, as I was ill and coming off such a big competition, I'm really happy with the results.

Monday, April 02, 2007

12th FINA World Championships 2007 - Melbourne

The World Championships were held in Melbourne from the 17th of March to the 1st of April. The diving program was from the 19th to the 26th of March. There was over 200 divers competing from 40 countries. The Australia Diving team was: Alex Croak, Peter Hill, Grant Nel, Scott Robertson, Sharleen Stratton, Melissa Wu and me.

The pool looked fantastic! Heaps of seating and lots of blue and pink. Training was very crowded most of the time, but it was great catching up with the other divers from all over the world. We stayed at Oaks on Market St, the accommodation was good. I got the welcome board changed from 'Oaks Welcomes Athletes for the World Swimming Championships' to '12th FINA World Championships' - much better!

My first event was Women's 10m Synchro with Melissa. After prelims in the morning we were 2nd, in the finals we dove really well to finish in 2nd place. The Chinese girls: Jia Tong and Chen Ruolin won with 361.32 points. Melissa and I came 2nd, with a score of 324.00 points. The girls from Germany: Annett Gamm and Nora Subschincki finished in 3rd with 306.63 points.

My next event was the Women's 3m Springboard, there was 40 girls in the event. At the preliminaries I didn't dive very well, and I scraped through to semi finals, which is top 18. I dove much better in the semi finals to move up to 10th place and into the finals. I dove pretty good in the finals except for my front 3.5 tuck, which was way over, so in the end I came 12th (again - like World Champs in 2005). The crowd were great, really supportive, hence the wave to the crowd after my final dive in the finals.

My final event was the Women's 3m Synchronised event. The Chinese girls: Wu Minxia and Guo Jingjing won the event with 355.80 points. In 2nd place was the German girls: Ditte Kotzian and Heike Fisher with 318.45 points. Sharleen and I won the bronze medal with 313.14 points.

I had a great time at World Championships! I had three goals going in to the meet: the medal in both of my synchro events and to final in my 3m event. To finish the biggest event of the year (and the biggest event before the Olympics), having achieved all my goals is a great feeling, and puts me in great stead for the rest of the year, heading in to 2008! And now the Olympics are less than 500 days away!