Southampton Diving Academy member Gemma McArthur, who trains at The Quays Swimming and Diving Complex, travelled to Madrid last week to represent Scotland on 10m platform in the FINA Diving Grand Prix, coming away with an outstanding 6th place finish. Gemma is coached by Olympic coach and Diving Development Officer for Active Nation, Lindsey Fraser.
Each year, the FINA Diving Grand Prix takes place during the February-June period in a circuit with a maximum of seven meets, where divers from around the World compete. This was the first meet of 2014. For Gemma, aged 15 years, it was her first International competition representing her country.
The event gave her lots experience, allowing her to rub shoulders with some very experienced divers including Australia’s Melissa Wu, 2008 Olympic silver medallist, World medallist and 2010 Commonwealth Champion and Rachel Bugg, also from Australia, who finished 4th in the 2012 Olympic women’s 10m synchronised platform event. These 2 girls finished 3rd and 4th respectively ahead of Gemma and behind the 2 Chinese in the finals of the 10m platform. In addition she met and competed against Noemi Batki, from Italy, former European 10m champion, who finished 5th in the finals.
The countries competing in the women’s 10 platform were China, Mexico, Italy, Ukraine, Scotland, Canada and Australia.
In the preliminaries Gemma finished in 10th place, with an outstanding back 2.5 somersaults in the pike position, earning 7’s and 7.5’s from the judges. She proceeded to the semi finals later that day, finishing 3rd with a personal best having knocked out the Canadian and Mexican divers. She performed a good inward three and a half somersaults, scoring an average of 6.5’s from the judges, giving her a total of 60.80 for this dive. The top three divers from each semi-final then competed in the finals the following day where Gemma again dived consistently and improved her score finishing with a personal best of 269.65 in 6th place. Gemma is the first woman to reach the finals in the 10m platform at a Grand Prix event for Scotland.
“I was very nervous but enjoyed the whole experience and hope to have the opportunity in the future again to attend an international meet”
Her coach, Lindsey said:
“This was a wonderful opportunity for Gemma, and, having got over her nerves in the prelims, she went on to dive with composure in the semi-finals and then again the in the finals the next morning. I was very proud of her mature approach to the event. She will have learnt an incredible amount from this event, which will stand her in good stead for the future.”