Limehouse diver Scarlett Mew Jensen is only 15 but is already on track to achieve her Olympic dream after being selected for the senior GB squad.
The schoolgirl who is studying for her GCSE’s at St Marylebone C of E School, trains six times a week at the Aquatics Centre, Stratford for Dive London alongside Tom Daley.
And she already has several accolades under her swimming cap- as current double National Junior Champion and a gold medal win in the 3m Sychro at the British Championships in Edinburgh (June 1-4) and a bronze in the Women’s 3m.
In June she will travel to Bergen in Norway for the Junior Europeans and then head straight from the airport to Italy to join the GB senior diving squad for the 2017 Bolzano Diving Grand Prix.
We sat down with the promising young athlete to find out more.
How does it feel to be selected for the senior GB diving squad?
I was surprised as I am still a Junior; but it will be a great opportunity to gain experience. It will help me to feel prepared when I do become a Senior diver to already have a Grand Prix under my belt.
How did you get into diving?
I used to do gymnastics when I was younger and my PE teacher suggested I go for a trial at Crystal Palace Diving Club. I got selected for the team and it sort of went from there. I liked the fact that it combined elements of dance and gymnastics.
How old were you?
I was seven years old but I had been dancing and doing gymnastics before that.
Do any of your family dive or are they sporty?
None of my family dive but my brother is a cyclist; he’s in a great team called HMT where he’s supported and travels and races ; he seems to enjoy it as much as I enjoy diving.
What do you love about it?
I love the thrill of learning and perfecting a new dive and since I moved to DLAC I love the communication between my coach and team mates. It feels great to be supported and I like how I can talk to my coach and plan for the season ahead .
Which is your favourite dive?
When I get it right .. Full Out , which is two and a half somersaults and one twist.
The hardest part?
The physical aspect . We’ve just got a new strength and conditioning coach and he’s part of the British team. I’m using different muscles that I haven’t used before. Doing a session in the pool after weights and being at school all day is sometimes a challenge.
Have you ever been injured?
I was lucky I hadn’t been injured at the start of my diving career, however when I went to Junior Europeans in Kazan, Russia, I caught my little finger on the mat in training a couple of days before my event. The physio taped it up and said it looked ok so I carried on. I got a PB on my 3 metre individual event and came 5th and got a silver medal in synchro . It was only when I got back to London I found out it was broken.
How do you combat nerves?
I’m still learning. When I compete I listen to music in between dives to escape and keep myself focused. It’s good to keep uplifted especially if there are a lot of competitors.
Do you have days you really don’t feel like putting on a swimming costume?
Most athletes would agree there are some days when you don’t want to put on your kit, but I love what I do and often try to fit in a run or a gym session even on a Sunday, my day off.
Do you have any rituals or lucky charms?
I used to have a lucky costume but now, I don’t like to rely on anything except myself.
Who is your hero?
Tanya Cagnotto, the Italian springboard diver, because she competed in so many Olympics and was continually disappointed to not get the result she felt she deserved. Finally in 2016 she got a bronze medal in the women’s 3 metre. Her drive and determination is really inspiring.
What is Tom Daley like?
He’s such a generous and normal athlete and treats everyone the same.
Best advice he has given you?
He doesn’t really give me advice but he’s really supportive.
What is your dream?
To get to the Olympics .. Probably 2024 but maybe Tokyo.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up at 6.30am, travel to school in Westminster which starts at 8.30am and finishes at 3.30pm. I usually drop my bag back at home and grab something to eat, then head to training. On Tuesday’s and Friday’s I go straight to training for physio first. I finish at the pool around 8.30pm, get home around 9.30pm and relax or do homework for a bit before bed at 10- 10.30pm. I try to get most of my work done at school so I don’t have to do it when I get back when I am tired. Saturday training starts at 8am and Sunday I get a lie in.
How many calories do you have to eat a day?
I don’t really think about calories. I try to eat healthily, lots of fruit and veg, more protein , less carbs. It depends whether I am training or competing. I have a nutritionist now so they advise me as to what’s best
A bar of dark chocolate with sea salt.
Favourite thing to do apart from diving?
Chilling out with my family or hanging out with my friends. I like reading and I love to escape watching films.
Scarlett’s parents have set up a crowdfunding website for her trip to Italy as it is entirely self funded.
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