Earlier this year, Oleksii Sereda became the European champion in the Men’s 10m Platform at the European Championships in Rome, where he also came away with a Silver medal in the Mixed Synchronised 10m Platform with Sofiya Lyskun and the Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform with Kirill Boliukh. Also this year, Oleksii competed at the World Championships in Budapest, winning Silver in the Mixed Synchronised 10m Platform with Sofiya, and he made his Olympic debut representing Ukraine at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where he competed in the finals of the Men’s 10m Platform and the Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform. Other competitions for Oleksii have seen him win Gold alongside Kseniia Bailo in the Mixed Synchronised 10m Platform at the European Championships in Budapest last year, and he became the youngest ever European diving champion having won Gold in the Men’s 10m Platform at the 2019 European Diving Championships in Kyiv. We chatted to Oleksii about becoming the European champion at the European Championships in Rome this year, making his Olympic debut for Ukraine at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and being the youngest ever European diving champion after winning Gold at the European Diving Championships in Kyiv in 2019.
In August, you competed at the European Championships in Rome, what did you enjoy most about competing there?
I really enjoyed diving outside. It calmed me down.
You became the European champion after winning Gold on the Men’s 10m Platform, how was this?
That was pretty cool for me because I’ve done it again after three years.
What was it like winning Silver and competing in the Mixed Synchronised 10m Platform with Sofiya Lyskun and the Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform with Kirill Boliukh?
Actually I love it, because when you’re competing alone, it’s much harder being calm during a competition, but when you have your friend with you, it becomes even more fun.
Can you tell us about your time competing at the World Championships in Budapest earlier this year, where you won Silver in the Mixed Synchronised 10m Platform with Sofiya?
I was surprised at getting the Silver medal because we had been training for our synchro for a such short time.
How did you prepare for both this year’s World Championships and European Championships?
We had a really long preparation for both of these competitions. After the war started, everything has changed for all of us, we went to Aachen and we were lucky to meet such great people there, they helped us a lot. Thanks to them, we had an opportunity to train over there.
What was it like making your Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and how did you feel finding out you’d been selected for the Ukrainian team?
I didn’t have any specific feelings about that, because I just showed my dives and made them pretty good, I was in Ukrainian diving team earlier.
How did you find the experience competing in the Finals of the Men’s 10m Platform and Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform?
For me, the Olympic Games was the competition where I could get a lot of experience and I got what I wanted.
You won Gold at the European Championships last year in the Mixed Synchronised 10m Platform with Kseniia Bailo, what was it like competing in Budapest?
That was unexpected for me because, like with Sofiya, we just had a couple of trainings together and somehow we got such a great result.
In 2019, you became the youngest ever European diving champion after winning Gold in the Men’s 10m Platform at the European Diving Championships in Kyiv, how did you feel winning the Gold medal?
This medal showed me who I am and showed me that I can possibly be much better, it gave me lots of energy for continuing my training in the future.
What was it like representing Ukraine and becoming the European champion in front of a Ukrainian home crowd in Kyiv?
That was much harder than I expected because when everyone is supporting you, it seems that you have a responsibility to them, but after all, I like that.
What are some of your favourite highlights from your time as a diver so far?
Of course, this is my first Gold medal at the European Championships.
Where does your love of diving come from and how did you get into it?
My mom got me into the sport and I liked it immediately.
Can you tell us about your typical training day and how do you like to spend your time away from diving?
My typical day is – I wake up at 7:00am, then I eat something, and right after that at 8:00am I have the first training, then after training, I go to school where I have a couple of lessons, and after school I go to the second training. After the second session, I have my free time which I like to spend watching animes or just some serials.
What do you enjoy most about representing Ukraine at major international competitions?
At this time it’s really a pleasure to represent my country because I want to help our soldiers and our citizens. I think they need motivation at such a difficult time, so I’m trying to give it.
Have you been given any advice throughout your diving career so far that has stuck with you?
Never give up, this advice I got from Naruto.
Do you have any competitions coming up that you can tell us about or that you are targeting?
I don’t know. 🤷♂️
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