Southampton Diving Academy member Gemma McArthur travelled to Madrid last week to represent Scotland on 10m platform in the FINA Diving Grand Prix.
And the 15-year-old, pictured, who trains at The Quays Swimming and Diving Complex – under Olympic coach and Diving Development Officer for Active Nation Lindsey Fraser – produced an outstanding sixth-place finish. Divers from around the World compete in the grand prix each year and this was the first of seven meets of 2014. It was Gemma’s first international competition representing her country. The event gave her lots experience, allowing her to rub shoulders with some very experienced divers, including Melissa Wu, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist, World medallist and 2010 Commonwealth Champion, and fellow Australian Rachel Bugg, who finished fourth in the 2012 Olympic women’s 10m synchronised platform event. These two finished third and fourth respectively ahead of Gemma and behind two Chinese divers in the finals of the 10m platform. She also met and competed against Noemi Batki, from Italy, former European 10m champion, who finished fifth in the finals.
Countries competing in the women’s 10 platform were China, Mexico, Italy, Ukraine, Scotland, Canada and Australia.
Gemma finished 10th in the preliminaries with an outstanding back 2.5 somersaults in the pike position, earning 7’s and 7.5’s from the judges. She was third in the semi-finals 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 for a total of 60.80 for the dive. The top three divers from each semi-final competed in the finals the following day. Gemma again dived consistently and improved her score, finishing with a personal best of 269.65 in sixth place – the first woman to reach the finals in the 10m platform at a grand prix event for Scotland.
Coach Fraser said: ‘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. She added: “She will have learnt an incredible amount from this event.”