This year at the European Championships in Rome, Yasmin Harper won Bronze for her first individual major championship medal in the Women’s 3m Springboard for Team GB, which was her final international competition of the season. Yasmin represented England at her Commonwealth Games and multi-sport event debut in Birmingham this summer, competing in the individual Women’s 1m and 3m Springboard finals and the Mixed Synchronised 3m Springboard alongside Jordan Houlden, after her diving partner Matthew Dixon picked up an injury. Also this year, Yasmin competed at her first World Championships in Budapest and, at the 2022 British Diving Championships, she won Gold in both the Women’s 1m and 3m Springboard events. Currently, Yasmin is in her preseason training, with her next competition being the Nationals at the beginning of 2023 and she is hoping to be selected for the Great Britain team at next year’s World Championships. Recently, we spoke to Yasmin about winning Bronze at the European Championships in Rome, competing for Team England at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and becoming the British champion in the Women’s 1m and 3m Springboard this year.
At this year’s European Championships in Rome, you won Bronze in the Women’s 3m Springboard, what were the European Championships like to compete at and how was it collecting your medal?
This was my second Europeans, last year’s didn’t go so well, I also didn’t compete 3m individual in 2021. So I was really pleased to get to have a shot on 3m and was very happy be on the podium with a Bronze medal.
How was it having the European Championships as the final international competition of this season and what did you enjoy most about competing in Rome?
Having Europeans in Rome was a great one to finish off the season because it was out in the sun and a pretty fun one to end on. My favourite part of competing in Rome besides the nice weather was definitely eating some good pasta.
You made your Commonwealth Games debut this summer in Birmingham, how did you feel being selected to represent England and what was it like competing in front of a home crowd at a major international multi-sport event?
I felt very excited to be part of Team England at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games as I hadn’t ever been to a multi-sport games before and the fact that it was at home made it even better. Competing in front of the home crowd wasn’t like anything I’ve experienced in diving before, there were thousands of people in the stands all cheering for you, I found it quite motivating.
How did you find the experience competing in your individual finals – the Women’s 1m Springboard and Women’s 3m Springboard – and how did you stay focused during the competition?
I felt pretty good going into my 1m final because I finished up the prelim in second. However, a mistake in round two meant I couldn’t do enough to climb back up the standings. I was quite disappointed not to get a medal. I really enjoyed my 3m final and I ended up with an international PB. I stay focused in a competition by just thinking about one dive at a time, I think that’s a really important thing for me to do.
What was it like competing in the Mixed Synchronised 3m Springboard with Jordan Houlden and how was it preparing to dive together after your diving partner Matthew Dixon unfortunately got injured?
Mixed Synchro with Jordan was a bit of fun to end our Games. We found out we were going to do it together at around 10pm the night before, which meant we only had the training slot right before the competition started to have a go at some dives together. It was quite a funny experience.
How was it attending the opening/closing ceremony and staying in the Birmingham athletes village?
The opening ceremony was amazing and it happened to be on my 22nd birthday, which was pretty cool. Not an everyday affair! I quite liked staying in the village with all the other athletes, it meant you could speak to people you ordinarily wouldn’t get the chance to. However, I found it helpful to get a little bit of away time from the village by either seeing family or visiting the Birmingham city centre.
Earlier this year, you competed at your first World Championships, how was your time in Budapest?
Budapest was a tough event. It was the biggest and busiest competition I have ever been to and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It wasn’t the performance I was hoping for but it’s definitely taught me some things and given some insight into what it will be like next time. Being with the rest of the team and getting to see bits of Budapest was good fun though.
Can you tell us about competing at the 2022 British Diving Championships, which saw you win Gold in the Women’s 1m Springboard and the Women’s 3m Springboard?
There wasn’t a lot available for competition experience in the gap between winter and summer Nationals so I had to take any opportunities there were. It was probably the most list training I have ever done and it meant I ended up being pretty well-prepared for British Champs. So, when I got Gold on both Springboards, I felt really elated but also a bit relieved that all the training had paid off.
What are some of your stand-out highlights over your career so far and do you remember how you felt being selected to represent Great Britain for the first time?
My stand-out moments definitely have to be double Gold at the summer Nationals at my home pool in Sheffield and my first individual major championship medal at the European Championships.
My first selection for Great Britain was actually in a different sport. I competed at the European Championships in sports acro when I was 13. However, the feeling didn’t change for me when I made my first international in diving because it felt like a new accomplishment.
How did you get into diving and is it something you always wanted to do?
I started diving in 2014 after being a gymnast, I had had enough of parts of the sport and I wanted to do something new that was just as exciting. I first saw diving when the 2008 Olympics were on TV, and I remember thinking how impressive it looked, so I guess that’s what got me interested.
Did you have any favourite divers to watch when growing up and have you been given any advice throughout your time as a diver so far that has stuck with you?
I think my diving inspiration is Tania Cagnotto, she was a beautiful diver to watch, I really like her style. The best advice I have been given is to be patient and not to give too much thought and worry to your future self. I think this is important for me to remember as I still find myself being impatient and stressing unnecessarily about what’s to come.
What is a typical training day for you and how much does your training change in the lead-up to a major competition?
My weekly training involves ten sessions (six days) a week and that includes dryland, S&C and pool. That means four double sessions a week and two single sessions. When competitions come around, I up the volume of optional and list run-through training and the dry side of training gets less intense.
Is there anything you enjoy most about competing as a diver and being involved with sports?
When I’m competing, I most enjoy the thrill of doing a great dive and the competitiveness of wanting to do the best. I don’t think there’s anything better than being a part of sport, it provides so many amazing opportunities like meeting people and getting to travel to different places.
How do you like to spend your time away from the pool?
When I’m not at the pool, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking, it’s something I’ve loved doing since I was quite young. On the weekend, I like to take a good amount of time to paint my nails.
Do you have any competitions coming up that you can tell us about or that you are targeting?
I’m in my preseason training at the moment, which is every year from the end of summer into autumn/winter, so the next important competition for me is Nationals at the beginning of the new year. After that, I would love to get the chance to compete at the 2023 World Championships.
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