Born in Sheffield, England, 26 year-old Clare Cryan didn't know how to swim when she began her diving career!
She's now 17 years into her training and is on the road to Olympic qualification (as well as having completed her Sport + Exercise Science studies at the same time) ! We sat down with Clare to talk about her hopes, fears + lockdown routine as well as giving us a few pointers about her sport if you're looking to... err... dive into something new!
We do a lot of dry land training for diving. So a combination of gymnastics, trampolining, conditioning and stretching, as well as strength and conditioning sessions.
In a usual pre-corona week I would do 11 pool sessions, 8 diving dry land sessions and 2 strength and conditioning sessions. That’s about 25 hours a week. Sunday is a day off!
Yeah it was a big change! As much as I missed being in the water and training with my team mates I actually quite enjoyed the difference in training and having to adapt and be a little creative. I was using a mattress in the garden to practice my somersaults and filled a suitcase with books to do workouts with.
I love diving. I was always told if I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t need to go, but even through the tears and fear of learning new dives, I still wanted to be there.
The main motivation is that I want to know that I gave it my best shot and whatever the outcome I can be happy knowing I did all that I could.
I took a year out of competitive diving and really missed that intense training and working towards something. So, I guess it has made returning to competitive diving easier as I know 100% its where I want to be.
I’m going to get deep here. I’m most scared about life after diving. Diving has been my life longer than its not! I have got plans for post diving but it will be a new adventure and I don’t know how it will turn out.
And my dad is my hero. He was outnumbered living with 4 girls… that must have been tough! But seriously, he is always patient and ready to help anyone at the drop of a hat.
I feel really lucky that I have so many great people around me!
For starters the diving community is like a big family. As a lot of sports, we train multiple sessions a day, so we have great relationships with each other, keeping training fun but also a network of people that understand the decisions and sacrifices we make.
It’s a relatively small sport, internationally too and we spend a fair amount of time queuing for our goes so we are able to chat a lot and make new friends around the world.
My friends away from diving are also great. They understand that I can’t make every party or that I might not be able to stay long as I have training early in the morning. But they are always there for a chat, or a coffee.
My family too, they’ve been my biggest supporters through my 17 years of diving!! Things have had to work around diving a lot and all the lifts to training and competitions. I have a fantastic support network.
I still need to qualify a spot for the Olympics. We should have been in Tokyo in April, but obviously that didn’t happen. That competition (the World Cup) should be held in February next year where I will need to finish in the top 18 in order to qualify for the Olympics. So there is still a lot of time to get some good quality training in before then.
If I qualify I would be Ireland's first female Olympic diver… my team mates Ciara McGing and Tanya Watson will also go to the World Cup so maybe there could be a few of us as the first female divers for Ireland!
Keep an eye on Clare is she continues her training and prepares to make Irish Olympic history!