The British National Diving Cup may be seen by many of Britain's elite divers as the first stepping stone in what will be another busy year of competition for 2023 - but it has a different level of significance for European and Commonwealth medallist Katherine Torrance.
The 24-year-old has experienced an intermittent time since her Olympic debut in Tokyo 18 months ago, and she is looking to make an impression at next weekend's National Diving Cup as she targets a return to competition in Edinburgh following a shoulder injury that she picked up early last year.
After making her international debut at the European Games in Baku in 2015, Torrance became a regular member of the British Diving team at international level – regularly making finals and challenging for medals in the years that followed, including taking silver in the Women's 3m Synchro at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, as well as Mixed Team bronze at the European Championships a year later.
Speaking on what will be her first national competition since the last edition of the British National Diving Cup in 2022, Katshone some light on how her recovery has gone, and what her feelings are as a fresh year of competition begins.
“It's definitely been a long process. I had surgery in May, and realistically it's probably a year-long healing process, so you end up going back into the pool before things are fully healed anyway", she stated.
“Getting back into competition is quite exciting. I feel like I get to start from a fresh slate with the expectations that I just want to have of myself and I feel like that's quite an easy way to go into a competition season, knowing that people won't expect much so you can surprise them.”
Torrance’s injury also meant that she had to miss the busiest year in memory for the sport, with the athlete discussing how she managed to navigate this whilst still working towards her return to action.
“Being out of the pool [in 2022] was probably a bit more eye opening in a positive way. I think it showed that diving isn't the be all and end all, and it's something that I'm very passionate about. I had a bit of time to go on holiday, I started university, I got a job and I did lots of things that I enjoyed. So I sort of looked at the silver lining.”
During her recovery, Kat continued to be in and around the British Diving Performance Centre, Leeds camp, surrounding herself with some of Britain’s best divers, who have all contributed to the success of the national team over the past 12 months. She was keen to highlight the benefits of having such a group around her during this time.
“I think I'm very lucky to be able to train with these guys every day. Obviously you've got Jack Laugher and Dan Goodfellow who are both Olympic medallists. Dan is someone who's very impressive because he's come off the platform onto the springboard and has adapted incredibly, and also people like Lois Toulson and Anthony Harding who have their major medals too,” she claimed.
“I think it's a very positive and reinforcing environment to be in and I consider myself quite lucky to be able to train with them all.”
With the focus of the athletes turning to the National Diving Cup next weekend, Torrance also commented on how her training has adapted due to her injury, and what her targets are for the event and beyond, at the start of what will be another busy year of diving action.
“There is a bit more stuff that I have to do as I recover. There's a lot more rehab and a lot more boring stuff to be there that I hate doing, but it's obviously better for me. So just little bits, but nothing massively different," she added.
“The aim at the moment is just to get to the end of the week most days! We're obviously still a bit up in the air about what competitions are even happening this year from a global perspective, but for me, the focus is just on this year’s nationals and trying to get my name back on to the podium and just seeing where things go from there.”
The British National Diving Cup runs from 2nd-5th February. All event information, including tickets, how to watch and the event pack, can be accessed here.