IN August last year diver James Connor’s Olympic dreams lay in tatters after doctors discovered stress fractures in his back.
The 17-year-old former Glen Waverley resident moved to Queensland in late 2010 after making Australia’s Commonwealth Games team, with dual goals of doing well in Delhi and making the London Olympic Games.
Things were largely looking positive for Connor until last August when the stresses of training finally got to his teenage body, resulting in several stress fractures in his lower back.
Connor had spent eight years training for the chance to make the Olympics and with the diving team trials set for March this year he faced an almost impossible race against time to get fit enough to compete.
“With all the training I did and all the forces you deal with, eventually something is going to give and it’s not going to be the water,” he said.
“I was advised by my physio, who deals with a lot of Olympic athletes, that the general rule with my type of injury was you had to take your time out of the sport and multiply it by two to know when you would get back to where you were before your injury.
“I was sidelined until December, then I had three months to get back to PB level [personal best] for the trials.”
To get himself ready, Connor and his coaches decided to pull out all stops to accelerate his training and boost his slim hopes of diving in the trials.
“We had to take risks and push me to the limits,” he said. “My training increased and my physio increased. I had more regular sessions and more physio sessions and managed to get to the trials.
“When training amped up, I trained smarter as well; I tried to take in everything my coach was telling me.”
At the trials Connor had to make the top two in his event, the 10-metre platform, and score above a certain number. He ended up doing both by taking a second-place finish, but that wasn’t all he needed to do to get to London.
The divers still eligible for the London team had to get the same or better scores at one of the two grand prix events in America and Canada