Birthday fun on hold for focused Laugher

29 November 2011..... Diver Jack Laugher from Ripon at the dive centre at the John Charles Stadium Leeds.
29 November 2011..... Diver Jack Laugher from Ripon at the dive centre at the John Charles Stadium Leeds.

Ripon diver Jack Laugher turned 18 yesterday, but there will have been no wild parties or debauched stumbling out of nightclubs for this Olympian.

As well as studying for his A’Levels at Ripon Grammar, Laugher is heavily entrenched in preparation for next week’s British Gas Diving Championships in Plymouth.

The defending 3m champion is aiming to claim another gold medal on his favourite board, and hopes to make 2013 an even greater year of success.

2012 was a huge 12 months for City of Leeds diver Laugher, who not only competed at his first Olympics at 17, but also won two gold medals at the Junior World Championship including a 3m synchro title with Tom Daley.

This year will be all about building towards even greater things however, starting next week on the south coast.

“I’m a little bit nervous as I haven’t competed since the Junior Worlds in Australia,” he said.

“I won the 3m springboard last year so hopefully that goes in my favour but it also puts on a little bit of pressure so I’m doing a lot of training at the moment to make sure I’m at my best.”

Laugher will be up against close friend and Team GB colleague Chris Mears in the 3m springboard, but says their friendship is useful motivation at competition time.

“Me and Chris are good mates and we love competing against each other,” said Laugher.

“Quite honestly I think it helps us both to dive better and do the best we can. There are two qualification spaces up for the World Championships in Barcelona so we’ll both be going for them.”

A good showing in Barcelona in July is Laugher’s main target this year; so much so he’s competing less and training more to boost his threat at senior level.

“This year is all about improving the difficulty of my lifts, doing less competition and focusing on my training,” he said.

“I’ll probably only compete about four or five times this year. I also want to get on top of my academic work too. It’s like having two full-time jobs, going to school and 27 hours a week of training and diving.

“On Mondays I do weights from 8-10am, drive home, then it’s school from 11am, before going back to the pool at Leeds from 5-8pm.

“It’s all worth it for the experiences I’ve had though.

“The support I get at home from my mum and dad is incredible, I wouldn’t be here without them.”

The dedication involved means that Laugher’s 18th birthday celebrations are on hold...for now.

“It’s just too close to the nationals, and with training I can’t afford any days off at all,” he said.

“If I qualify for the Worlds though I won’t compete next until March, so maybe then there’ll be time for a party.”

So for now, diving takes priority, and it seems there’s no escape from the sport now, particularly with Daley’s ITV show Splash! dominating the Saturday night schedule.

Laugher has been watching.

“The first week it was a bit cheesy but the second week was brilliant,” he said.

“Tom’s really good on TV and he’s been a good coach.”

lJack Laugher is a member of the British Gas GBR Diving Team. This spring British Gas is launching Swim Britain, a campaign to create a healthier nation and get more people swimming regularly by 2015. Visit