TAKING OFF: Georgia Sheehan is preparing to fly to Spain on June 21 to contest a Grand Prix diving event in Madrid.
TAKING OFF: Georgia Sheehan is preparing to fly to Spain on June 21 to contest a Grand Prix diving event in Madrid. David Nielsen

Commonwealth Games diver climbing to new heights

GEORGIA Sheehan was a nine-year-old aspiring gymnast when she saw Melissa Wu competing for Australia at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Now she is a Commonwealth Games veteran at the age of 15, just missing out on a bronze medal on the 1m board in Glasgow last year.

But given Sheehan's gymnastics commitments mum Paula was initially reluctant to indulge her when she asked to start diving.

"I said no at first," Paula said.

"Then I said she could do it one day a month"

When Paula rang up to enquire about finding Georgia a club where she could train she got the phone numbers mixed up.

Instead she rang the National Talent Identification Program, who were keen to get a gymnast on board.

From there she was accepted into the Queensland Academy of Sport and things took off.

Sheehan and her family have lived in Eastern Heights for the past year.

"I love diving," she said. "I love the challenge.

"It's a really unique sport."

Since the Commonwealth Games Sheehan has switched her focus from the 1m to 3m board as there is no 1m event at the Olympics.

She is about fifth in the order of Australian female divers on the 3m board at the moment.

"I'm just under where the girls going to world series are," she said.

Sheehan's next challenge is in Spain later this month, where she will compete in the FINA Grand Prix event in Madrid.

She is not quite sure what to expect, having never competed at world level, so has no expectations about what she might achieve.

Mind you, she had no expectations at the Commonwealth Games and only missed a bronze medal by 0.05 of a point.

It was her first open event as a senior diver, which may have been an advantage.

"I felt the pressure was off because I wasn't expecting to do amazing," she said. "I was just enjoying the experience."

So much so that she had no idea she was so close to a medal when she had her final dive.

"One of my friends said, 'How do you feel missing out? You were so close'," Sheehan said.

"I was like, 'What?'"

The result Glasgow left Sheehan experiencing mixed emotions.

"I was so happy because I was nowhere near expecting to do so well," she said.

"But part of me wished one judge had scored me a little bit higher, or I could have done this or that better."

In Spain Sheehan's expectations are more about achieving personal goals than finishing anywhere in particular.

"I'm more focussed on a certain score than a place," she said.

"Obviously the competition is going to be tough.

"But I'll try not to focus on other people."

VOTE FOR GEORGIA

Queensland Times readers can do their bit to help Georgia Sheehan achieve her goal of making the 2016 Australian Olympic dive team.

Sheehan was nominated by Diving Australia for the Colonial First State Sports Boost bursary. She is one of four athletes in the running for $10,000 towards training commitments.

To vote for Sheehan visit sportsboost-app.herokuapp.com/votes/new

 



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