19 March 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

#RoadToRio: Q&A with three-time Olympian, Diver, Tonia Couch

July 5, 2016
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In the latest of our #RoadToRio articles we spoke with diver Tonia Couch who is preparing for her third Olympics.

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You’ve had a good season so far – how optimistic are you ahead of Rio and what is your realistic aim?
The aim for Lois (Toulson), my synchro partner and I, is to get a PB. We can’t control what our competitors will do, but if we perform the way we know we can, hopefully we could be in with the chance of a medal.

What has changed since your first Olympics back in 2008?
The profile of diving has definitely increased and we now have more training camps and more competitions, so there are loads more opportunities to get experience. This will be my third Olympic Games and I’ve been in the top eight in the world since I was 15, so my funding has been the same throughout, which is great. Now though, there is more support from other areas and it’s great to have the backing of Everyone Active as part of their Sporting Champions programme.

What’s the average age for divers? Are you at your peak?
I think most divers hit their peak once they get to their 20s. I’m 27 now and feel like I’ve really hit my peak this year.

Tell us a little about your training – how much is general fitness versus technique?
We do very little cardio but lots of strength work, using weights in the gym at Everyone Active Plymouth Life Centre and we also use gymnastics to practice our technique before we hit the water.  

Do you do any other sports for cross training? If so what’s your favourite?
As well as gymnastics, I walk a lot. Nanook, my dog, needs lots of exercise so when I’m at home I can be walking for up to 6 miles a day!

Have you been to the Olympic venue yet? How is it looking?
Yes, it was great to see it and get a feel for the place. It’s already built and, apart from a few finishing touches, it’s games ready.

Aside from the actual event, what is the best part of competing in the Olympics?
Aside from competing, I love the buildup. The diving team just had their official Team GB kitting out day; it’s very exciting to receive your kit and you feel unbelievably honoured to be representing your country. When you get to the games, it’s a great opportunity to make new friends and watch lots of different sports too.

How do you eat for competition – given that they can be long events?
I tend not to eat during a competition. To keep my energy up, I snack between training and competing; usually a sandwich or a protein bar and I take EQ Nutrition supplements too.

What’s the biggest risk of injury?
The biggest risk of injury is when practicing technique in the gym, especially if you land awkwardly!

Favourite dive?
It has to be a three-and-a-half somersault off the 10m platform.

You came to diving from gymnastics, but do you ever wish you’d stayed in gymnastics?
No. I love diving and I think that everything happens for a reason.

Do you follow/watch the gymnast’s events?
Gymnastics is one of the sports I’m most looking forward to watching in Rio. We have a really strong team with the likes of Max Whitlock who is also an Everyone Active Sporting Champion, so I’m excited to see what they can achieve this year.

How do you cope with being in the water all the time – any skincare or hair tips?
I get through a LOT of shampoo and conditioner! My favourite at the moment is Maria Nila. I don’t find that my skin is affected too much when I’m training at home at the Plymouth Life Centre but it can dry out a lot if I’m at a different pool, as the chlorine levels vary.

If you could try any other Olympic sport what would it be?
Apart from gymnastics, I would like to have a go at the hurdles again; I used to win when I competed back at school.

What will be your treat meal when you get home?
Definitely Chinese food. I’m disciplined with what I eat during the week but I do allow myself a treat or two at the weekends!

You catch watch Tonia and Lois compete in Rio on August 9 from 4pm (8pm UK time )

Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Tonia is sponsored by Everyone Active who operate Plymouth Life Centre. www.everyoneactive.com

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