Meet The Member - Gracie

Meet The Member - Gracie

Our media team had the pleasure to meet 14 year old Gracie and Mom Vanessa at a recent video shoot at Sandwell Aquatics Centre. Gracie from Tipton, started diving in September 2023 after participating in one of the taster sessions led by Nigel, the Head Dive Coach.

Questions for Gracie

What made you want to try diving for the first time?

I had been swimming since I was 6 years old and have always enjoyed the water, our swimming coach gave us the opportunity to have a session on the diving boards with one of the coaches and I knew from then I was going to love diving. 


A lot of divers come into the sport from gymnastics, but you came from swimming? Tell us about this?

After years of swimming, I wanted to give diving a go because when I had my first session I loved it. I knew from then that I had a passion for diving and wanted to learn more. 


What do you enjoy about diving?

I enjoy that I can push myself each session to be better than the day before, and there is always another dive I need to learn .

Following the first taster session, what were the next steps in your development?

The next steps were for me to feel confident and focused when I’m on the boards. I had a 3 month trial where I did 3 sessions a week, and then we had a meeting with Nigel and he offered me more sessions which is what I was hoping for.


How many sessions do you per week and how does it vary?

I do 8 sessions a week which includes 2 afternoons . 


We understand you experienced your first competition recently, how did this go and did you enjoy it?

I was quite nervous as the diving competition was all new to me. I have recently came back from another competition and I was more confident this time and I performed quite well .


What gives you confidence to dive from the various heights?

As I know that  the higher the boards, the better my dives can be. I also get to learn more dives over different boards.


Do you have a longer-term aspirations in the sport?

I would love to get to get into the GB squad and compete at the Commonwealth or Olympic Games.


How would you encourage more young people to try diving?

I would like the young people like me to just give it a go, you might love it just like I did diving has opened up a new outlook on my future.

Questions for Mom (Vanessa)

What did you think when Gracie first said she wanted to try diving?

I was nervous at first as she was new to it and boards are quite high, but when I saw how much she excelled in just her first few months and seeing how happy and focused she was, I knew that this sport was for her.


How have you found the experience as a parent?

It is all very new to us and we learn something new every week. We like to go and watch as she is learning something new all the time and then perfecting the dives.


How have you found the diving coaching team at the centre?

Amazing, Gracie has gone from being a complete novice to an age group diver in 5 months, and that just shows how much time the coach and his team put into the divers at the centre. They are all approachable for any questions that we unsure of and they make Gracie feel at ease when she is trying new dives .


What do you think of the facilities at Sandwell Aquatics Centre?

There is good variety for all ages and abilities.


Do you think diving will help Gracie with any other aspects of her life as she grows older?

Yes, as within 5 month her confidence as grown so much in so little time. It’s given her strength to keep pushing for what she wants to achieve in life when she’s older.


There must have been a lot of pride when Gracie was selected for her first competition?

Yes there was, we are proud of everything she does and for what she is achieving in diving. We look forward to the future with Sandwell Diving Club. 


How does the cost of diving compare to other activities Gracie undertakes?

Gracie only does diving now as her main aim is to be able to compete at the highest level she can, so all her time and focus in on diving.