Southampton Diving Academy’s three Olympians have been given a stylish London 2012 send-off.
Pete Waterfield, Stacie Powell and Chris Mears will be competing at London’s first Olympics since 1948 following their inclusion in the 12-strong GB Diving squad.
Fittingly, they and their coach Lindsey Fraser arrived at The Quays in a classic 1948 Riley RMA Saloon to be greeted by family and junior members of Southampton Diving Academy, bedecked in Union Jack bunting.
Waterfield, a silver medallist at Athens 2004, will be competing in the 10m platform individually and in the synchro with Tom Daley.
The 31-year-old tweeted “a massive thanks” to the scores of wellwishers at the party on Saturday night and cannot wait for his first event, the 10m synchro, on July 30 (the 10m individual takes place as the Games reach their climax, on August 10-11).
Waterfield said: “We leave for our Olympic camp on Saturday and picked our kit up last week which brings it home how close it is.“ It’s been a long wait, the last four years have been long and the last few months seem to have taken ages but now we’re only weeks away it’s coming around quickly again.
“I’m feeling fit and injury free, I was training in Plymouth with Tom last week which went really well. We’re looking forward to getting it on now and seeing what’s going to happen.
“Our diving’s been going well in the synchro, and my diving’s going well individually so I’m really excited.”
Beijing Olympian Stacie Powell, 26, will be competing in the women’s individual 10m platform on August 8-9 after breaking the British record at the GB trials in Sheffield last month.
Remarkably, she has been combining her Olympic training with her studies for a PhD in astrophysics.
Even more extraordinary is the adversity overcome by Mears to qualify.
The 19-year-old from Reading will be competing in the 3m springboard (August 6-7) and 3m synchro (August 1) with Nick Robinson-Baker – three-and-ahalf years ago after cheating death when he ruptured a spleen at the Youth Olympic Festival in Australia.
Mears’ dad Paul carried the Olympic torch on its route through the Essex town of Hadleigh last week and his replica torch was also at The Quays as part of Saturday night’s celebrations.
British Olympic Association chief Lord Colin Moynihan, who himself held an all-night bedside vigil during Chris’s illness, nominated Paul and his wife Katy because of the dedication and support they have shown, not just during their son’s health scare but throughout his diving career.