Matty Lee is one of the most promising young divers in Great Britain and competed at his first senior World Championships in the summer. This year he has his eyes firmly set on the Rio 2016 Olympics and will be looking to secure an extra spot for Great Britain in the 10m Platform at the World Cup in February.
This is the second time I’ve been lucky enough to go to Australia. The first time was to compete in the Junior Worlds in Adelaide in 2012, but this time we were staying on the Gold Coast near Brisbane, Queensland for our second warm weather camp of the season. The Gold Coast is really nice, sunny and hot, golden beaches, but believe me we did lots of hard work.
It was a long flight both going and coming back we did about 24 hours traveling. We were out in Australia for nearly three weeks, the longest training camp I’ve ever been on, but I think this was to enable us to fully overcome the Jet lag and do some serious training.
The facilities over in Oz were really good. The diving facilities were very good at the Gold Coast Aquatics Centre, the dry gym had all the facilities; foam pits, trampolines etc, the springboards were really good with rigs, the weights gym was excellent and it was all on site.
We were staying in apartments, I was sharing an apartment with Jack, Chris and Dan. We were in an apartment block so we were on different floors. Now this was the first time I had been self-catering on a camp, so we had to do all our own cooking cleaning washing, shopping etc. There was no nipping down to the restaurant for a quick bite or picking up your packed lunch as per other camps. This was a new experience (I’ve never been on self-catering holiday without my mum or dad doing all the hard boring work) so this gave me a taste of what it might be like when I leave home.
Training was extremely hard; this was no holiday in the sun, so no need to be too jealous, this was definitely the hardest camp I’ve been on. We trained almost twice a day every day, and then you had to come “home” and cook, clean, shop – food shopping not retail therapy. But this is the type of training/preparation regime you have to do for the senior circuit, but it’s new to me as I am still a junior diver, so it was an interesting adjustment.
One of the benefits of being in Australia was training outdoors. Rio is an outdoor venue for the diving so we need to prepare as much as possible for open air diving, which you can’t do in the UK - I don’t think there is a single open air platform diving pool in the UK – for obvious reasons. Diving outdoors brings some challenges like changing weather conditions, light levels, spotting difficulties, wind (not fun if your attempting a handstand on 10m board) so it was really good to learn how to overcome those in a protected environment like a camp.
On the odd couple of days we did have off, we first went to the beach called Surfer’s Paradise, and on another day off we went to “Wet and Wild” Water Park. And on the one afternoon we had off we went shopping this time it was retail therapy shopping. One evening me Tom and the girls went to Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant an “underworld of gothic splendour!” It was really good fun, great food and entertainment, I would definitely recommend you go there if you are ever lucky enough to go to the Gold Coast.
There wasn’t as much of a Christmassy feel out in Australia as there is over here in the UK, guess that’s down to the fact it’s the middle of summer over there. Even the shopping malls weren’t particular Christmassy, they didn’t even have many decorations up. So we tried to make up for it in the apartment putting up Christmas lights and trying to decorate as much as we could, the girls even had an arts and craft evening to make some decorations.
It was good to be home on the 20th Dec just in time for Christmas (though training did continue). I had a nice relaxing Christmas with family. For Christmas I got a few different things including Ugg slippers, a dressing gown, a small remote control drone, iPhone docking alarm clock, VR glasses (ones you attach to you iPhone), toiletries bag, aftershave, and some money.
I hope you all had a good Christmas and I hope like us athletes you are excited by it being Olympic year.