Former Team GB diver inspiring next generation at London Aquatics Centre
PUBLISHED: 18:44 15 August 2016 | UPDATED: 18:44 15 August 2016
PA/Press Association Images
While her former team-mates are competing for medals in Rio, Frankie Del Celo is training the next generation of champion divers at the London Aquatics Centre.
The 20-year-old retired from the sport six months ago and is now teaching at the Tom Daley Diving Academy, based at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park centre.
“Diving’s not just a hobby you do after school,” she said. “It’s your life.”
But Frankie was initially heading down a different sporting path.
“I was a gymnast for nine years, from when I was four until I was 13,” she said. “Then I was talent selected for diving and I was able to compete at a much higher level than in gymnastics.”
In 2011, Italian-born Frankie received her British passport and was immediately called up to the Team GB diving squad.
“It’s such an achievement to represent your country,” said Frankie
“I’ve competed all around the world, and one of the highlights was Mexico, where divers are treated like celebrities.”
Frankie, won gold in the junior European championships with Grace Reid, who is competing in the 3m springboard in Rio, and said she could understand how the athletes out there were feeling.
She has also trained with Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow, who won bronze in the synchronised 10m platform.
“It’s been hard keeping in touch due to the time difference, but I sent a message to Tom to say well done, and also to Tonia [Couch],” she said.
For Frankie, though, her role now is to train up the team’s successors.
“I mainly teach the junior elites, who are around 10,” she said.
“There are some really good youngsters. There’s a young girl who does the springboard, which was what I used to do, and a couple of boys on the 10m, like Tom and Dan.”