15/04/2011 09:55

Pete Waterfield

Born: March 12, 1981
Height: 5'6"
Events: 10 metre platform dive, individual and synchronised
2000 Sydney Olympics, synchronised, 4th
2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, individual, Gold
2004 Athens Olympics, synchronised, silver
2006 Melbourne, Commonwealth games, individual, silver
2010 National championships, individual, 1st
2011 National championships, individual, 1st

Pete Waterfield

Born in East London, just as Margaret Thatcher was pushing through her radical economic agenda, Pete Waterfield's background gave little indication of his sporting potential.

However he says his tough upbringing, and his father's desire to keep him off the streets, was one of the key drivers of his determination to succeed.

"My Dad used to be a tool maker and he used to come home from work miserable all the time. That's one of the main things that motivated me to get into diving."

Though he didn't learn to swim until he was nine, Waterfield got into diving almost immediately after, becoming intrigued by the aerobatic displays at the other end while he was paddling in the shallows. By the age of 14 he was competing in the European junior championships, already with his current coach Lindsey Fraser.

Three years later, in 1999, he moved away from home to Southampton to focus full-time on his diving. At first he struggled with the loneliness of his intensive regime, before meeting his future wife Tania, and quickly settling down to start a family.

Success after success followed, as he captured Commonwealth gold and then an Olympic silver medal in Athens 2004.
"When you look at the medal and it's got the Olympic rings on it, it kind of blows you away," he says. "It's a select few who ever get to go to the games, let alone win something."

Despite his achievements, Waterfield candidly admits money remains a problem. His wife holds down two jobs to help pay the bills, while he has had to sacrifice full-time training to do schools coaching in order to supplement his lottery funding.

"It's difficult. I don't have a sponsor so lottery funding is all I get. But it's performance based so if one year you have a bad year then your money can go down. And that uncertainty, when you've got a mortgage to pay and kids to feed, is not what you need."

The one major accolade still beyond his grasp is that of Olympic champion, and Waterfield sees London 2012 as the perfect place to remedy that, either in the individual event or with his likely synchronised partner Tom Daley.
"I'm in a good place and I know what I need to do," he says. "It will be so good to know everyone in the country is behind us. It's a great event in history."

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Pete Waterfield in his own words

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