CPC is a proud sponsor of champion diver Jack Laugher. In his latest blog, Jack talks about his training and his recent gold medals in the World Series.
Jack’s Blog: The start of my year.
Last year was the best year of my career so far and I knew it was going to be tough to follow it. I had a really good off season with a lot of training, learning and getting stronger and also had an amazing time out in Rio De Janeiro diving in the Olympic pool! Rio was a lot of fun and also an amazing experience, getting to grips with our surroundings for when the big moment comes next year!
The first competition of the year is the National Championships, which take place in February. I had learnt a new dive during the off-season and was extremely excited and nervous to show it off here. Training leading up to the nationals was looking really good and I was in a mentally and physically great place until one session when I felt something give in my arm. I thought nothing of it and carried on training which was a huge mistake as this injury put me out of action for 10 days with only just over 2 weeks to go before competition. I had done nerve damage from my neck down to my right arm and this meant my muscles wouldn’t activate, in turn causing me pain. This was a nightmare come reality for me as I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to compete. Luckily with the help of doctors and the physiotherapists, I got to a pain level that I could deal with so I could train and compete. I managed to use my new dive; the 5156b (forward 2 1/2 somersaults, 3 twists piked) and I got 93 points on it, which was brilliant! The competition went smoothly despite my injury and I came away with two gold medals to start off the year with. Brilliant!
Our next competitions were the World Series. The World Series consists of 6 different competitions around the world in places such as China, Mexico and Canada! The first leg was 2 competitions, 1 in China, 1 in Dubai. After Nationals I had 2 weeks to recover and prepare for leaving to officially start my international season off. Training was still difficult with my injury not fully healed and sometimes having to cut sessions short because of the pain, but we did some good work. I learnt from the Nationals what my weaknesses were and my coach and I tried to work our best to rectify these mistakes.
We left for China at 5AM on a Monday morning and arrived at the hotel at 6PM Tuesday evening! The long journey wasn’t good for my body and I was sore for training on Wednesday, but with only 2 days until the competitions, I had to bite the bullet and get on with it! The first comp was the synchro competition with my partner, Chris Mears. The first international competition of the year is always scary as we are up against the best in the world and that’s always daunting. We put out a good performance but only managed a 4th place, narrowly missing out on a medal to the Germans. With my individual the next day there was no time to sulk. I had to be ready to go again for a full day only 10 hours later. I made it through my semi final, qualifying in 4th place overall. This was the first international competition doing my new dive and it was in the 2008 Olympic Beijing Water Cube. Great venue, but very cold making diving very difficult to do! Unfortunately I didn’t medal but it fuelled me for the next competition in Dubai.
We had an even earlier start to head to Dubai! Leaving the hotel at 3am felt like death to me! I slept all the way to the airport and we had an 8-hour flight to Dubai. I love Dubai because it’s so sunny and such a nice pool. Plus, my old diving coach now works there so it’s nice to see him once in a while. We only had 2 days of training before the competition so not much time to prepare. Training was going really well even though I was still carrying the arm injury that I mentioned earlier.
It got to our synchro competition day and we were a little bitter after our 4th place from Beijing. We did our best required dives since the Commonwealth Games and we were doing really well for our first three dives. On our 4th dive I dropped a little bit short and on our last, Chris went a little over on the 6th dive. We ended up 4th again, which was really horrible for us. New tactics next time I think.
My individual was up next and I was pumped after being only 6 points shy of my PB last time. In my prelim were the Chinese and a Mexican. I was fairly confident I could make the finals and with a score of 517 I sailed through with a PB by 0.5. With an amazing and steady performance I was filled with excitement for the finals later. After a very powerful session, the finals started. I opened up with my first dive and got over 90 points! The first time this has happened in a senior competition. I was off to a good start. I was calm and focused and I stuck to my routine. I didn’t know how well I was doing until I stepped on the board for my last dive to see my name, followed by “previous round rank 1”. That’s when it dawned on me that I could actually, not only medal, but win this competition. I felt the nerves and pressure to do a good dive and ended up doing the highest scoring dive on my list with my last dive to secure my first ever senior international win as well as a HUGE PB. I’ve never been so shocked and happy at the same time! To be a world series champion and knock the Chinese off top spot was such a great feeling and I’ll never ever forget it. I scored 564 points and I was only 8 points shy of the world record set in 2008 by He Chong. I still have things to work on back in Leeds but it is going to be an exciting year!
Thank you to everyone at CPC for your continued support and the “congratulations” messages I am receiving over twitter etc when I am away competing It is nice to know that I have your support whatever the result but hopefully I can carry on the success! I think now is probably a good time to mention that the water in Beijing could really do with a bit of TLC from you guys!
I hope you have enjoyed my blog and I look forward to keeping you posted on what happens in the coming months!
All the best,