Matty Lee is one of the most promising young divers in Great Britain and having just competed at the LEN European Championships in London, he looks back on his performances.
The European Aquatics Championships was a fantastic event to be picked to compete in and it was even better that it was in London. I had three events for this competition which meant a busy schedule for me. I was doing the Team Event, Mixed 10m Synchro and the 10m Platform.
The Team Event was a nice start to the Europeans because it allowed me to shake off cobwebs and get used to the noise of the home crowd. I’ve never done this type of team event so it was a new experience for me and I enjoyed it.
The weirdest thing was competing on 3m Springboard, I haven’t done that for long time so I was a bit rusty but it went fine. We were hoping we might be in with a chance for a medal if it went well and it did. We were so happy to win the bronze and the first medal for GB. Also Georgia and I were the first GB athletes to ever win a Team medal at the Europeans!
Georgia and I were looking forward to the Mixed 10m Synchro. We had competed before in London last year where we medalled so we hoped to do well again in front of the home crowd.
We have a funny way of combating nerves. We are very chatty on the platform talking about what we are going to have for tea, who’s doing what etc. It’s only when the whistle blows we go in to competition mode. We were very happy with our dives and we were consistent and were only 5.5 points away from Gold. – not bad for a pair who train at other ends of the country and last trained together last year. I really hope these new team and mixed synchro event are included in Tokyo 2020.
I was looking forward to my individual event because I felt that I had something to prove. The prelims went well, obviously the target was to get in to finals, so I just took it steady and comfortably made the finals knowing I was saving a few things for that night.
Things were going swimmingly for the first four rounds of the final as I was diving well and consistent. I was really happy with my dives some scoring 9 and 9.5 and at this level of comp that’s pretty good.
Then came my fifth round dive and ahhhh - I ended up going over on my entry getting 5’s - when I came out of the pool I was really frustrated and annoyed – you could probably see that on the replay. But then I thought “no” let’s not dwell on that, let’s compartmentalise this and push it to the back of my mind - I still had one more dive to go, my reverse 3 1/2 somersault with tuck, which is one of my hardest dives. So I concentrated on my last dive, knowing I needed to nail it. The last dive is often the one that everyone remembers, so I was determined to do it well. I was actually pretty nervous on that 10m board before that dive but it went very well, and I nailed it for 9’s for 91 points! I got a new PB and that’s with a dropped dive, so I came away very happy and the coaches were pleased too at the way I’d performed.
I took a lot from what my coaches were saying, telling me that this time I belonged with the best and I believed them and this encouraged me to push myself and show them they were right.
This year has had big ups and a big down! It started well with the Nationals I got a new PB and came second to Tom in the 10m final which was a really positive start to the year.
Then there was the huge disappointment of the World Cup in Rio failing to qualify a spot for GB has to be my lowest point in my career and personally as well. It was hard and tough out there with everyone qualifying spots for the Olympics except me. Everyone was on a real high. It’s difficult to know what it was that went wrong. I came in confident and for some reason it didn’t go to plan. It felt like it wasn’t me diving out there, straight away after the competition I was heartbroken. I couldn’t believe it happened, it was horrible and I don’t know why it happened but it did.
My target always had been Tokyo but it was looking like Rio was a strong possibility but alas it was not to be.
After the World Cup I did the Grand Prix in Puerto Rico and that didn’t go too badly but I was still trying to build my confidence and focus back.
So next was the European Championships and I felt I had this one chance, since Rio World Cup to prove to myself and everyone else that it wasn’t over for me and to come back from the huge disappointment and that chance was the Europeans, and I think I did that – plus rather happy to come back with two medals as well!The years not over for me yet I might not be going to the Olympics but I’m actually still a junior diver so I have the Junior Europeans to concentrate on in June and then hopefully the Junior Worlds in Kazan in December so the season is far from over for me.