Sunday, September 09, 2007

FINA Diving World Series - 3rd Leg - Nanjing, China

We left Mexico very early on the 9th of September, we flew to San Francisco and arrived at 10am. Our flight to Shanghai was delayed a few hours, so we caught the train to downtown San Francisco. We walked around for a few hours, checking out some of the local sights, it was a really fun day out, much better than sitting in the airport.

Finally our flight to Shanghai was boarded, and for some unknown reason the four of us were upgraded to business class. It was awesome, I could lie almost flat and I had prawns for dinner! We arrived in Shanghai, and then were taken by bus to Nanjing which took 5 hours. We arrived at the Jiangsu Zixin International Hotel at 1am. The hotel was very nice, I shared a room with Sharleen up on the 21st floor. The food in the hotel was pretty average, I ate lots of fried rice, bok choy and watermelon.

The pool at Nanjing was fantastic, one of the best pools I have ever dived at. The pool was almost brand new and it was clean! The springboards were good and the platform was nice too, I'm getting use to the bamboo matting platform surface. The first photo is of the pool from the lift in the hotel. The fourth photo is of Melissa doing a back twist off 5m, while I was standing on 10m platform. Dad took some fast speed photos of Sharleen and I doing synchro, the three photos are of the same dive.

We went shopping a few times in Nanjing, at the markets we bought DVD's, wallets, belts and some Chinese souvenirs. We also went to the supermarket to stock up on some food, I bought some lollies and biscuits.

On the 15th of September, Sharleen and I had 3m synchro. Sharleen and I dove really well, didn't miss a dive. The Chinese and Russian pairs also dove really well and didn't miss a dive either. We came 3rd behind the Chinese and Russian pairs, but we score 317 points which is an international PB score for us! We were awarded with a beautiful glass trophy.

On the 16th of September, Melissa and I had 10m synchro. Our first three dives - inward dive, reverse dive and front 3.5 were excellent and we were actually in the lead. Next dive was inward 3.5, I was a tad short but Melissa was way over. Our final dive was back twist, we nailed it, to finish with 340 points and in 2nd place, just 12 points behind the Chinese!

That night was the farewell dinner, which included traditional Chinese entertainment of musical performances, dancing and singing. Sharleen and I got into the Chinese spirit and ate cake with chopsticks! The Australian Team (L-R) : me, Sharleen, Melissa and Xiangning.

On the 17th of September we had another early start at 5am, getting a bus to the Nanjing train station, and then caught the bullet train to Shanghai train station, which took only 2 hours! Then it was an hour bus ride to the Shanghai Airport, where I said goodbye to dad, as he was on his way home to Melbourne. We flew to Singapore and then to Brisbane. I was so excited about being back to Australia - good food and clean air!
It was a great trip, very long and very tiring, but I learnt a lot and produced some great results too. We got two silver medals and two bronze, which resulted in us getting third place overall in both the synchro events!

Monday, September 03, 2007

FINA Diving World Series - 2nd Leg - Mexico City, Mexico

On Monday the 3rd of September, we left Sheffield on the bus to Manchester, then flew to London Heathrow, to Washington DC, and finally onto Mexico City. As the second leg of the World Diving Series was held in Mexico City. We arrived at the Radisson Hotel at 11pm, this time I shared a room with Melissa. The Radisson in Mexico City is 5 stars, it was very nice and the food was pretty good too, though we didn't eat any Mexican food, which was disappointing.
We competed at the Alberca Olímpica Francisco Márquez Pool which was built 40 years ago for the 1968 Olympic Games. It hasn't had much work done on it since then!

The altitude in Mexico City is 2240 metres, and you could really feel it while climbing the stairs to 10m, I would get to the top puffing and panting! Mexico City was so busy, lots of people, cars and traffic jams. The population of Mexico City is higher than the entire population of Australia, over 25 million people!!
On the 5th of September, all the divers and coaches were invited to go on a bus tour of Mexico City. It went for 2 hours, but it was heaps of fun as we got to sit on an open top double decker bus. We drove past heaps of significant buildings and statues, such as the Mexico City Cathedral (far below right), National Palace, the Palace of Fine Arts (below right) and the Angel of Independence (far below centre).

On the 7th of September, we had nothing to do in the morning and we were bored. So Sharleen, Mel, dad and me got in a taxi and drove back to the Mexico City Square to have a look around. We went to the markets, looked at some Aztec ruins and looked in Mexico City Cathedral (left) and the National Palace (centre). It was great to get out of the hotel and enjoy some Mexican culture. Below is dad and me in the courtyard of the Mexican National Palace, and us girls at the markets.

That afternoon Sharleen and I had 3m synchro. The crowd was huge and very vocal! We dove really well and had very good synchro, even on back 2.5, we were synchro over and synchro splashy! We came second behind the Chinese and in front of the Russian pair. We were awarded with beautiful and big medals, then it was off to do a TV interview with Fernando Platas, then to the press conference which took a while and most questions were asked in Spanish then an interpreter said the question in English, which was then translated into Chinese, then back to English and finally Spanish.

On the 8th of September, Melissa and I were final event with the 10m synchro. We had a lot of sitting around time, before our event got underway. Our inward and reverse dives were pretty good, and then on front and inward I went over. It was very close between 3rd and 6th going into the last round, we had back twist, usually a very good dive for us. Mine felt really good but Mel's was short and the synchro was out. So we finished 6th, which was disappointing, neither of us dove great.
That night was the farewell dinner, we were all so tired, and food didn’t start until 9:45pm, the food was delicious but I just wanted to go to bed. Finally I got back to my room at 11:30pm, with my alarm set for 3:18am - Yuk!