IT is safe to say that Stacie Powell is one of the brightest Olympians at London 2012.
While most athletes are focusing everything on the Games, Powell has been combining her preparations with a PhD in astrophysics.
Fascinated with outer space, Powell defies gravity in a different sense in the 10m platform.
She has had her fair share of injuries, but is at the peak of her powers, having qualified in some style at the national trains in Sheffield last month, when she broke the British record.
Powell finished tenth at Beijing 2008 but is confident going into London 2012 and credits training under the guidance of Southampton Diving Academy coaches Lindsey Fraser and Xinde Zhang, who she rates as the best in the country, for her improvement.
GB’s Monique Gladding will be among her 10m platform rivals, the pair having secured GB two places with their performances at the FINA World Cup in February.
Born in Bristol, Stacie first learnt to dive at the Plymouth Diving Centre, where Tom Daley was also nurtured, as a seven-year-old.
She moved from London so she could train at The Quays, where she has risen the bar by training with Soton-based trio Pete Waterfield , Chris Mears and Max Brick over the last few years.
The 26-year-old cannot wait to compete at the Aquatics Centre on August 8-9.
“I’m really excited and can’t wait to get up there and perform in front of 17,000 people cheering for us,” she says. “I’m diving the best I’ve ever done and have improved since getting the British record. I’m in the best possible condition.”
Powell will finish her PhD at Cambridge University when the Olympics are over, but also intends to compete at Rio 2016.