Grace Reid: Somersaulting into trees part of unorthodox training in lockdown

By Jonathan SutherlandBBC Scotland
Tom Daley and Grace Reid pictured at the World Championships in South Korea last year
Tom Daley and Grace Reid pictured at the World Championships in South Korea last year

Somersaulting into trees will go down as one of the more unusual issues brought on by lockdown.

But it was just another challenge for diver Grace Reid on the road to next year's Olympics.

The 23-year-old from Edinburgh won silver in the 3m mixed synchro at the World Championships in Budapest back in 2017 and followed that up with gold in the 3m springboard at the European Championships in Glasgow.

Since all that the world has turned upside down, which brings us back to those lockdown somersaults.

"My somersaults were no longer in a diving pool, I was doing them in my back garden into trees," Reid told BBC Scotland. "Weight sessions were done with rucksacks filled with tins of beans. You get inventive."

Reid also got into home baking sessions to while away the hours, a therapeutic if somewhat hazardous hobby.

"That was usually an afternoon sort of treat, but it was very dangerous and I had to stop doing that," she explained. "All of a sudden me and my mum and dad would be like, 'wow, we have just eaten an entire cake!' We had to be a little more mindful of the baking towards the end."

Memories of delicious treats are now fading fast for Reid, who is back in London training with the rearranged Tokyo Olympics, now starting on 23 July 2021, very much in mind and her sights are set on a medal.

"In terms of preparation that's what we're aiming for," she said. "There are a lot of variables to contend with that are completely out of our control. But looking at everything I have achieved particularly over the past four years since Rio, it is definitely on the cards.

"It is going to be tough but Olympic medals are not meant to be handed out and they are not meant to be easy. It is really challenging but in a time like this to have something to get my teeth stuck into is really exciting."

Grace Reid
Reid celebrates her springboard gold in 2018

The rigours of lockdown have been weathered with continual funding throughout for Reid, who says she now feels more motivated than ever having been deprived of contact with the water and her team-mates for so long.

"We're really fortunate we are sponsored and funded by the National Lottery," she added. "They fund over 1,100 athletes and it allows us to train properly and professionally. It means we don't have to go out and work a job and train 30 hours a week, it's just not feasible for performance or functioning as a human being. Without that support I don't think I would be where I am today.

"I struggled with not being able to see my team-mates. Having to motivate yourself rather than have your team-mates help you out on a day when you were struggling, that was really hard.

"Now that we're back together and we're a unit again - even if we are socially distanced - it's so much better and the harmony between us all is incredible."

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