July 27, 2012 is a date that Nick Robinson-Baker has had etched in his mind for nearly two years.
The London-born diver, who moved to Sheffield in 2005, has been conducting his own personal countdown to the Games and he insists he will be a proud man when the opening ceremony kicks off in just over seven weeks time.
He said: “I remember two years ago downloading an app on my phone for the London countdown and I’ve looked at it every single day for two years. To go to an Olympic games in your home city, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It comes around maybe once every 60 years, so I feel truly honoured to have the chance to take part in it.”
In London, Robinson-Baker will be competing alongside partner Chris Mears in the Synchronised 3m springboard event at the newly-built Aquatics Centre. In preparation for the main event on August 1, the duo finished fifth in the European Championships in Eindhoven last month and also scooped silver in Mexico earlier this year in the final leg of the FINA World series.
He said: “If we do what we did in Mexico, we’ll walk away with an Olympic medal. To be competing at that level you need to be doing the big dives, and having that home crowd as an advantage is driving me on.
Despite the Olympics seeing him return to his home city of London, Robinson-Baker says he taken Sheffield to his heart. “This is home for me now. I’ve made some amazing friends up here,” he said. “I moved up here with nothing, and I’ve gained a hell of a lot.”
He also admits that he is indebted to his housemate and friend Steve Holmes, who supported him when he first moved to the city: “I owe a hell of a lot to Steve. He supported me when I first came up here and even bought me a car, so he’s been a great help to me.”
Next is the British Gas National Championships at Ponds Forge which starts tomorrow. The event is also the Olympic trials and it is the final chance for hopefuls to secure their London spot but Robinson-Baker and Mears are virtually assured of their place on the team.
The Games will be the culmination of a lifetime’s worth of work but he insists that ultimately it will all boil down to what happens on the day.
He added: “I’ve trained my life for this moment. I’ve put every single ounce of effort that I’ve got into getting to this Olympics.
“It’s been 18 years of breaking bones, tearing ligaments, getting injured, blood, sweat, tears, and trauma just to get to this event that’s going to last 45 minutes – six dives.
“I just have to make sure I do the best six dives of my life on the day to walk away with the Olympic medal.”
British Gas Diving Championships at Ponds Forge
Friday: All finals
2pm Men’s 3m Synchro
2pm Women’s 10m Synchro
5pm Women’s 3m Synchro
5pm Men’s 10m Synchroi
11am Men’s 3m Prelim
11am Women’s 10m Prelim
4.30pm Men’s 3m Final
4.30pm Women’s 10m Final
10.30am Women 3m Prelim
10.30am Men’s 10m Prelim
3.30pm Women’s 3m Final
3.30pm Men’s 10m Final