British diver Noah Williams has recently returned from the Gold Coast where he competed in the Commonwealth Games for Team England winning the silver medal in the Men’s Synchronised 10m Final alongside his diving partner Matthew Dixon. Not yet turning eighteen, Noah has already been successful in a number of top competitions at junior and senior level. On his return from Australia, we chatted to Noah about his Games debut, the experience in the Commonwealth Games village and his upcoming competition schedule.
What was the experience like at this year’s Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast?
The experience at the Commonwealth Games was amazing. With it being my first multi-sport event and major competition I was just taking everything in the whole time. The Opening Ceremony was incredible because I had never done anything like it before. Training and competing with top class athletes from all around the world was an excellent opportunity to watch and learn from them.
How did it feel finding out you’d booked your place on the team and where were you when you heard the news?
I was in the car on the way back home after competing at National Champs where I felt I didn’t perform my best. My coach, Dave, called me and told me that I would be going for synchro and honestly I wasn’t sure if I believed him or not because I was in shock so I didn’t even tell my parents and then just went to sleep.
You won Silver in the 10m Synchro alongside your diving partner Matthew Dixon, what was this like?
Coming second and close to first is never the best but it was still a great achievement to come back from my first Commonwealth Games with a silver medal. I was so pleased to show some of my best diving apart from one slip up. Being able to stand on the podium next to all my teammates which competed, as Tom (Daley) and Dan (Goodfellow) won the event, was the most surreal feeling ever.
Where did you train with Matthew to prepare for the Games?
Seeing as I train in London and Matthew trains in Plymouth, it is pretty difficult, but we take turns travelling to each other to train synchro, so before Nationals I went to Plymouth to train but before the Games Matthew came to London for a couple of days to train, then we went to Leeds for a little competition practice before the Games to shake off all the cobwebs which seemed to work.
For how long have you been partnered with him for competitions?
There were talks of us doing synchro for a while but the first time we competed together was at National Cup in February of 2017 so we have been doing synchro for a little over one year now.
How did you find competing in the Individual 10m?
Competing Individual was an invaluable experience as it was only my second senior international competing individual seeing as I normally go to competitions for just synchro, so being able to compete at such a high level event was brilliant. I only found out that I would be competing individual a couple days before the competition so the preparation before this comp was definitely not ideal, however it was great that there was no pressure on me so I was able to just enjoy the preliminary which worked really well as I qualified to the final in second. Before the final I was so nervous, I felt sick, which I hadn’t experienced before and in my final I didn’t dive my best but I believe that coming fourth with as little preparation as I had was still decent.
How was it staying in the Commonwealth village and were you with the other English divers?
The village was awesome! I was sharing an apartment with the four other English platform divers. The other divers all said it was the best village they had ever stayed in but it was my first time staying in a village so I’m going to have really high standards for next time.
What was it like returning to your diving club after your success at the Commonwealth Games?
My first session back at my club apart from the people who were diving at the Commonwealths Games, there was only one other diver, Tyler, so coming back to training was quite chilled seeing as the majority of the people I was training with, I had just spent just under a month with in Australia.
Having competed at the British Championships, do you find it different competing there opposed to international events?
Competing at the British Championships is massive every year and the standard of diving seems to get harder every time as there are so many good divers in Britain, like four of the top six divers at the Commonwealth Games were from Britain and there were more divers who didn’t even compete such as Tom Daley and Kyle Kothari.
Do you remember how old you were when you won your first medal and what competition was it?
The first medal I ever won at diving was a qualifier to national skills at Crawley when I was eleven and I came first.
How often do you train in a typical week and do you train extra when you’re in preparation for competitions?
In a typical week I train twice a day on weekdays and once on Saturday which is about 25 hours a week. Before some competitions I train so much more than normal the week before but sometimes I do the complete opposite and train less than normal to make sure I’m properly rested for the competition. It all depends on how ready I am beforehand.
How do you balance schoolwork and training?
Honestly I’m not sure, haha, balancing schoolwork and diving is very difficult with A-levels. My school helped me out a lot by organising my timetable around diving. Moving to train at the Olympic pool also helped a lot by cutting training hours and commuting time.
What age did you get into diving?
I went to get talent tested at Crystal Palace when I was nine years old then started diving soon after.
Were there any divers who inspired you before getting into the sport or who inspire you now?
Before getting into the sport I actually didn’t know anything about it and had never watched it so I didn’t know any divers! However, now I am inspired by all the divers on the GB team and they all have such amazing work ethic and, of course, training with Tom Daley is always a great inspiration.
Do you have any competitions coming up in the next few months?
In the next few months I have the Canada Grand Prix in Calgary, soon followed by the World Cup in China which I qualified to from the Commonwealth Games. Finally, I have Junior World Championships and possibly the European Championships depending on how the next few competitions go.
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