This year, Cassiel Rousseau made his Commonwealth Games debut for Team Australia at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where he had successful diving competitions coming away with Bronze in the Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform with Domonic Bedggood, Bronze in the Mixed Synchronised 10m Platform with Emily Boyd, and he became the Commonwealth champion after winning Gold in the Men’s 10m Platform. After starting as an acrobatic gymnast, Cassiel switched to diving in 2017, and amongst his diving competitions, he has competed at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest and was part of Team Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Chatting to Cassiel, he told us about his success at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham for Team Australia, competing at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest and making his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
How was it representing Team Australia at your first Commonwealth Games this year in Birmingham?
Well, just like any international competition, I am always proud to be wearing the green and gold and representing Australia in diving. And since I have already been to the Olympics, I thought the Commonwealth Games was going to be similar, and for the most part it was, apart from the crowd. The difference between having a crowd and no crowd is so much bigger than I thought in terms of the environment you compete in and how the noise can change your emotions!
You won your first Commonwealth Games medal when you received Bronze in the Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform with your diving partner Domonic Bedggood, how was this?
Since this was a new partnership (we started training properly together around the start of this year), we weren’t expecting any outcome at all. And also, Dom lives in Melbourne (I’m in Brisbane) – which makes it just a bit harder to train together and get our synchro in time. Dom also took a big break this year and has only been training on 10m for the last couple of months before World Championships and Comm Games, so obviously, getting a Bronze in this event was just a really good start and a confidence boost into the potential that we have.
What was it like preparing for the Men’s 10m Platform Preliminary and Final and how did you feel winning the Gold medal?
In terms of individual – I never look to get any outcome, and neither do I care if I come first or last. This event had seven of the top 12 best in the world, including an Olympic Gold medallist (Matty Lee), so I knew that it would still be a very challenging competition. The only outcome that I focus on is to just enjoy the experience/competing, and to also see where I can improve. With that being said, coming last wouldn’t feel the best and just the rush and excitement I got from winning the Gold, I will probably be chasing that, and seeing how much I can do/improve in this sport.
In your third and last Final at the Commonwealth Games, you won the Bronze in the Mixed Synchronised 10m Platform with Emily Boyd, what did you enjoy most about this event?
So, this event kind of took both Emily and I out of surprise. We didn’t train together at all during the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games, apart from about a week beforehand, as this isn’t an Olympic event, and not as important as the main events that we compete in. So overall, Mixed Synchro is just an event where you can just have some fun. With that being said, it is still another chance to get a medal for Australia, and to wear the green and gold one last time before we left! So, during that comp, both Em and I really enjoyed ourselves and it was one of the most chill/fun comps I’ve had – so to also come out with a Bronze medal was just incredible and is fun to tease Em about the fact that I was a part of her first commonwealth medal 😀!
How was it competing in Birmingham and how did you stay focused during the Games?
Birmingham was just an amazing city to be in – respectfully, there isn’t that much to do in the city, but the people there were just so nice and inviting to everyone who was competing, which was just a delight!
Earlier this year, you competed at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest, can you tell us about your time competing there?
I mean, for any major event, the goal is simply just to have fun and enjoy the experience, and as I stated above, just want to see how far I can go in this sport, so coming 4th (previously 8th) in the world, just showed how much I have improved, with much more to hopefully improve on in the future!
How did it feel finding out you’d been selected for both the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships and do you have any favourite memories from both?
The hardest thing about these major comps aren’t necessarily the major comps itself, it’s qualifying for them. So just knowing that I have qualified just puts a little less stress in my life so I can go out to these major comps and just hopefully perform well while enjoying it!
You were in the Australian team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, how did you find the experience making your Olympic debut in Japan?
Making my first Olympic team was just a dream come true, so much pressure was lifted off and the whole experience of it was just a big lifelong memory that I’ll never forget. And it was also a bonus to have it in Japan, which is one of my favourite countries to travel to! It was a little unfortunate that we weren’t allowed to go out of Japan, and that there were no crowds, but it was extremely fortunate for the fact that the Olympics still went ahead, and the people of Japan helping/volunteering to make it such a good experience regardless.
We understand you were previously an acrobatic gymnast, what encouraged you to switch to diving in 2017?
To be honest, I was very discouraged at the thought of becoming a diver. Before that, I had a fear of heights, which clearly didn’t help, but the only push I got was from my mum. My sister entered in the trial, and Mum (thankfully) forced me to join her on that early morning as I was crying at the thought of even having to jump off 3m. But since I do enjoy adrenaline, after jumping off the 10m for the very first time, the excitement that I got and the enjoyment that I got out of it was just something else! So I will always thank my mum for my current diving successes, and the experience I get, and have gotten through diving!
What are you enjoying most about being an elite diver?
Travelling! I am forever grateful for the amount of friends that I have made, and the places that I have been to through the sport of diving, which I definitely wouldn’t have experienced without doing the sport. Which obviously comes at the cost of training hard and having a somewhat strict program, but it’s most definitely worth it.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
So, back at home, I am currently studying at Griffith University and also work at a cosy little place called City Cave up at Clayfield. So both of these, with the occasional weekend rides on my motorbike and the classic beach trip, definitely keeps me busy! While I’m travelling, another hobby that I’m very attracted to is getting different tattoos for each of the different countries that I go to like a little souvenir, however, just slightly more permanent, and a bit more expensive 😀. Which, thankfully so far, Mum hasn’t had a problem with, and I haven’t regretted any… yet.
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