Scotland’s top female diver Grace Reid has moved from Edinburgh to London to train with Tom Daley’s coach Jane Figueiredo, pictured below, as she looks to “kick on to the next level” during a busy season which includes the World Series and the Commonwealth Games.
The 21-year-old has been part of the Edinburgh Diving Club set-up since she was young, working alongside coach Jen Leeming and, latterly, Nick Robinson-Baker, but, after the summer’s World Championships, she thought the time was right for a change.
She admits it is a big decision to move south – the former George Watson’s College pupil has also put her applied sports science studies at Edinburgh University on hold – but feels it is the right one to help her take her diving to the next level.
“I had to think long and hard about moving away from Edinburgh because it is where I grew up.
“All my family and friends are there and I have done all my training there previously, but, when the opportunity to move to a city like London came around, I jumped at it because I really want my diving to flourish and move forward in 2018,” Reid said from her new base.
“Over the last couple of years I have been balancing my training with studying and, at times, that has been quite tricky.
“It is great that I have been allowed to put my degree on hold and now with this move to a brilliant new city around new team-mates and in being based at the London Aquatics Centre I feel refreshed and raring to go with a new challenge.
“I’ve been very fortunate to work with some amazing coaches in my career so far and I’m excited to be working with Jane. She is a very experienced coach who has worked with some of the best divers and, already, in the first few weeks I have been down here, she has been pushing me and we seem to have a good connection.
“I think that the move is going to help me grow as a competitor and a person and really make me strive for perfection every day whether I am training or competing.”
After what was, by her own admission, a disappointing European Championships in Kiev in June, Reid showed great mental strength to bounce back the following month and put together some great performances at the World Championships in Budapest. She finished fifth in the 3m synchro with Katherine Torrance and then came fourth in the 3m individual event.
That gave her confidence heading into the 3m mixed synchro and in that one she earned a silver alongside Daley, pictured left.
They held their nerve with a final dive of 72.54 points to clinch second with the Chinese duo of Han Wang and Zheng Li winning gold.
And Reid believes those two meets in the Ukraine and Hungary taught her a lot.
“Kiev just did not go well. I was just back from injury and the processes we put in place just didn’t click for some reason,” she said.
“However, rather than sulk about it I used it as a motivation to really go to the Worlds and show people what I am all about.
“To finish fifth, fourth and second out there was brilliant and to return home with a medal was great, but it also showed me that there is more to come from me as a diver. When I look at what 2018 has got in store I am just so excited.
“There are two World Series events [in China and Japan] in March and then, if selected, the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and then two further World Series events [in Canada and Russia] and that only takes us to the middle of May so there is loads to look forward to. I know I have to get my head down between now and Christmas and make diving my priority and I am intrigued to find out how life in London pans out for me.”
Reid has been enjoying getting to know London, but this Saturday she is set to head off to Tallahassee, Florida, with a number of other elite divers and coaches, including Figueiredo, for a two-week training camp.