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Leon reaches the big 30
Date: 23/11/2007

Last time you heard from me I was at a training camp in Leeds, this month I am at a training camp in Sheffield.  It has been a busy few weeks for me both in and out the pool so I’ve got lots of news to tell you. 

  Leon birthday celebrations  
I’ll start with my birthday.  On Friday 2nd November I turned the grand old age of 30! Yes the big 3-0 finally arrived although I didn’t get to celebrate it how you might expect.  A few days later I was competing in a diving competition, which was Team GB versus Germany.  I needed to be totally focussed on that rather than celebrating my birthday.  However it actually turned out to be quite a fun birthday despite the fact I was training all day.  All the GB team and coaches were there and during lunch everyone pulled out party poppers and I was given a birthday cake.  Luckily they had only put 3 candles on it – I’d have been worried if they’d put 30 on as it may have started a fire!! 

The team had bought me a very useful present for my birthday – a pair of slippers.  This kind of suggested that I am heading for ‘old man’ status.  I also received a t-shirt from one of the team saying ‘Back in the day’ on it.  I soon realised that the younger members of the team were enjoying some mickey taking and I probably deserved it as I have done the same for some of my older friends as they have hit 30. 

On the evening 40 of us, including Team GB and Germany competitors went to see the Sheffield Sharks basketball team play.  I mentioned in my last blog how much I enjoy watching the team and it was great that everyone came along.  Unfortunately Sheffield lost so that was a bit disappointing as it was a game they were expected to win. 

Back to the competition.  The individual event took place on the Monday but on my birthday I

  Leon diving  
pulled a tricep when entering the water.  If you remember, I hit the water at 40 mph so it is very easy to get injured in this sport.  This made the last few days preparation very difficult.  I decided to pull out of the individual event so I could concentrate all my efforts on the synchronised event, which was scheduled for the Tuesday.  Because of my injury preparation for this event hadn’t gone as well as I had hoped but luckily experience won over.  Pete Waterfield and I won the event and had a really good result.  This is really the start of the season in the build up to the Olympics so we were really pleased with how it all went – especially with my injury.  The other team from Great Britain finished in second place so it was a really good day for the British synchronised team. 

I have had to do a lot of thinking over the last few months as I was struggling with my work/life balance.  I have been studying part time at Sheffield University but over the last few months, I have found it increasingly difficult to fit that in around my training and competing.  I really enjoy studying as it is a break from the training and I get to use my brain more but I had to weigh everything up. It was a tough decision but I have decided to defer my university modules for now and will look at starting them again in the future.  The way I looked at it is, I am able to defer my studies but I can’t change the date of the Olympic Games so I have to focus on that for now. 

Now I have a little bit of spare time on my hands I have been developing my speeches for schools and business.  I am also learning to touch type as this wasn’t something I did at school so I am following a programme that will help me learn.  A great present I received for my birthday was a Nintendo DS Lite.  So to keep my brain working I now regularly do my brain training.  It is really good fun and also helps keep the brain active.

I am now getting ready to go to Montreal for a competition on 1st December.  This is an International Club competition with teams from Great Britain, America, Cuba, Canada and other parts of Europe.  It is going to be very cold so I’ll need to pack my thermals and all my winter woollies.  I will let you know how I get on in this competition in my next blog. 

Speak soon


How did Leon get on in Montreal - find out here?

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