SINCE she was 14, Grace Reid’s life has been dominated by diving.

It was at that age, a decade ago, Reid burst on to the international scene, making her first Commonwealth Games appearance in Delhi.

Her teenage years were far from the norm, with the Edinburgh girl getting up at the crack of dawn each day to hone her craft and travel the world in search of international glory.

It was, says Reid, the best way possible to spend her teenage years, but she also admits she was getting to the point where diving was perhaps beginning to dominate her life just a little too much.

And so, while lockdown was not the ideal interruption for any athlete at the peak of their careers, for Reid, it came at exactly the right time.

“I don’t think I was quite at the point where it was too much, or diving was dominating my life in a bad way, but I think I was maybe heading that way,” the 24-year-old said. “But lockdown gave me the chance to address that and reassess things. It’s made me take stock a little bit.

“I’ve learned that everything doesn’t need to be 100 miles an hour. Being like that really isn’t good for me – it’s not good for my diving and it’s not good for my mental health.

“This summer I was forced to take a step back and slow down and live my life a bit differently. So going into 2021, I feel like I’m in a much more solid place than I was last year.

“Diving will always be my priority but I know I need to switch off and it’s so important to have a life away from diving – that’s important when things are going well and when they’re not.”

Reid was born and bred in the Scottish capital but now lives in London, where she trains with the GB diving squad, including her mixed synchro partner, Tom Daley.

However, when news of lockdown came, Reid relocated back to her childhood home and with no pools open, her training became rather unorthodox.

“We had an idea that pools would be closing at some point so we started taking all the gym equipment out, but I don’t think any of us were prepared to be out of the water quite as long as we were,” said Reid, who is funded by the National Lottery World Class programme. “So I started just doing whatever I could. I was practicing somersaults in my back garden which was really bizarre.”

Reid comes across as relentlessly cheerful, although she could have been forgiven for feeling despondent when the Tokyo Olympics were postponed. Given the form she was in ahead of the pandemic, the 2018 Commonwealth champion was shaping up to be a real medal chance for GB having won mixed 3m synchro gold at the Diving World Series in London last year alongside Daley (pictured left). This year had already seen the pair win silver at the Montreal World Series event and so an Olympic medal appeared to be well within reach.

But rather than lament the postponement of the Olympics, Reid in fact sees the extra year as a massive opportunity.

“I definitely tried to look at it positively. I worked on certain things, and I came back stronger and fitter than I ever have been before, so that was a good thing that came out of the break,” she said.

“I tried to look at it like we’ve been given a bonus year. Before all of this happened, we were finding some good form and we were doing well but actually, looking back, I think there are definitely things that could be better going into next year so it’s actually like we’ve got the chance for a do-over, which is something people in elite sport never, ever get. So when you look at it like that, it’s really exciting.”

Reid has returned to London and has been back in the water for a few months now. This time of year is always quiet for divers in terms of competitions so she is looking forward to a block of training before getting back into competition mode towards the end of the year.

Tokyo is now nine months away, and Reid admits that while she does not let herself dwell on the possibility of becoming the first Scot to win an Olympic diving medal, the thought does cross her mind.

“It’s nice to set goals and it’s good to let yourself dream a little bit. If you can’t have these big ambitions and you can’t imagine it yourself, is it possible to ever actually do it?” she asks.

“So there are times when I’ll be sitting having a coffee and I’ll think about things but by the time I get to training, that’s the last thing on my mind. But a little bit of day-dreaming isn’t a bad thing.”

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