1. When your coach tells you to do one more dive, eight times in a row
Ah, the tumultuous ‘one more’ cycle. Your body is drained of all energy and concentration. Persistence often turns into frustration and you slow down, go to the shower or sit in the hot tub until your coach becomes empathetic and lets you call it a day. But that actually never happens.
After 10 minutes in the hot shower or tub, your coach instead punishes you for taking too long - with eight more dives. It is only when you no longer possess any more coordination or mental stamina, he tells you to wrap it up, 45 minutes after the rest of your group is already home and eating dinner on the couch watching The Bachelor. Thanks coach.
2. Feeling super powerful on your dive, only to get a literal warm welcome from the water
You have a great take off so you open up and feature out of your dive early like a pro, only to land horizontal and your confidence (as well as your body) becomes instantly bruised.
Heard of a belly flop? Know the pain? Now multiply that feeling by ten and you meet the evil cousin, Mr Back Whacker. A burning sensation that radiates through your skin and makes your lungs feel like they’ve caught fire and decided to evacuate your body. The result- protruding welts, purple veins and a bruised ego.
Sometimes a diver may also involuntarily choose to take one for the team and give the crowd what they really want to see.
3. Losing your chamois is like losing a part of your soul
So you know that towel looking thing that divers use and you always wonder what’s its purpose?
Well, that tie dyed rag is the original single device that prevents you from slipping out of a dive when you grab your legs, it doubles as a drying utensil when you find your wet towel still in your bag from last night’s session, it comforts you when you are scared of a dive (because squeezing, chewing or pizza twirling your chamois wastes time and reduces anxiety- I promise!) and it makes one heck of a whipping device against your team mates when your coach is distracted.
4. Your post land-based training brunch plans minus chlorine stench and wet hair,are ruined by your coach
You praise the diving angels when you only have dry land and weights training on a Saturday morning, because you’ll finally be chlorine- stench- free and have more potential than a wet slicked bun for Saturday brunch with your friends. But your coach makes you get in the water for a mere 10 minutes of basic entry drills at the end of a session… and you instantly feel like voluntarily closing your eyes and falling backwards off 10m… let’s be real, it would be less painful.
Here’s a tip, never judge the hair of a female water- based athlete. We wish, just as much as you, that we didn’t have to rep the same pulled back hairstyle everyday and could let our luscious locks flow freely like we had a spare 2 hours to straighten and treat our permanently damaged hair everyday.
5. And finally...
Only a diver understands the courage it takes to stand on the edge of a 10m platform and somersault and twist from a bouncing springboard.
Only a diver understands what it feels like to hit the water after completing a dive you know you nailed, the feeling of all your muscles squeezed in unison and entering the water with a perfect vertical line and rip entry. And best of all, only a diver understands the feeling of resurfacing from the water to hear your coach, teammates, family and supporters cheering you on, win, lose or draw.
Thank you to Diving Australia, the Victorian Institute of Sport and Zela for their ongoing support on my #RoadToRio. Follow me on social media: