Brookmans Park’s Hugo Thomas ready to take on Tom Daley’s crown and head to the world stage
PUBLISHED: 06:36 08 April 2020
An Olympic diving hopeful from Brookmans Park is ready to grasp his moment in the spotlight – just as soon as Tom Daley and the like retire.
Hugo Thomas already trains with the Great Britain squad and had his eyes on 2020 being a big year, with qualification for both the European and World Junior Championships high on his agenda.
That would have been the first step towards Olympic glory and although his hopes have been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Chancellor’s School pupil is still confident he can compete with and emulate the talented British divers currently ahead of him.
Thomas said: “Hopefully I am going for the 2024 Olympics in Paris or Los Angeles 2028.
“I’ve just got to wait for the likes of Tom Daley, Jack Laugher and Dan Goodfellow to retire and then it’s my generation and my age group that can then step up and be next.
“I was meant to be going out to my main competition of the year [last Friday]. It got cancelled but if I’d finished in the top two with a certain amount of points it would have qualified me for Junior European and Junior World Championships.
“That would have been against the best U18 divers in the world.”
The 14-year-old would have gone into the qualification tournament with a very good chance.
He started this year with a top-10 place off the 10-metre platform in what was his first senior British Championship and then fifth in the one-metre springboard.
But he is taking a positive outlook on the lockdown, and while it naturally stops him from hitting the pool, he says the strength and conditioning work he is doing will stand him in good stead in the long run.
He said: “I should be able to get on top of my fitness. I can go as hard as I can and get as fit as I can so that when we get back I’m even stronger than I was before.
“I’m training about three times a day at home and up to six days a week.
“I do a weights session, yoga in the morning and then some kind of cardio or body workout.
“There’s imagery as well. You have to go through the dives as well and think about what you see as you spin around in the somersaults.
“You have to go through and imagine them as it stops you from forgetting.
“[The GB squad] are all on Zoom together. There was my coach and my whole group and we were doing yoga together.
“That keeps up our flexibility and doing it together means we can still talk and keep it as normal as possible.”
His love of diving started when he was eight-year-old and even though you are not thrown straight into the deep end, he did say that learning to manage your fear was essential.
He said: “If you’re too scared, you can’t do it, so you have to go with what the coaches are saying. You have to have trust in people when they say you’re going to be OK.
“It was really scary [when I first went to the 10m platform]. You work your way up, starting on the one-metre board and when you’re ready, they’ll take you to 10m.
“You’ll do different jumps with different styles, like tuck jumps and pike jumps, and then once you’ve been doing that for about a year, they’ll start giving you the harder dives.
“You just build up and at the minute I’m doing forward three-and-a-half and inward three-and-a-half dives.
“At first I wanted to be a gymnast because I love doing all those flips and stuff but there wasn’t a good gym club near me so I got into diving instead.
“I just enjoyed it and love the somersault aspect of it.”
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