Gold medal for surprised Sheffield teenager – at her first international senior event

Sheffield has got a new international gold medal champion - and nobody is more surprised than the teenager who won the honour.

By Bob Westerdale
Tuesday, 23 April, 2019, 10:01
Tia McGarry sporting her gold medal with her Sheffield diving coach Dale White

Diver Tia McGarry was taking part in her first ever senior international event - and the first time she's represented Great Britain.

Pitched in against a considerably more experienced set of rivals in Ukraine, she turned the sporting order upside down and won first place in 10-meter platform.

The 19-year-old immediately devoted the stunning win to her parents, John and Zoe, back home in Denmark Road, Heeley, and her coach Dale White.

The Sheffield Diving Club member said: "I was over the moon to win because a lot of the other competitors were experienced at Commonwealth, Olympics and the world stage.

"I didn't expect to win at all. It was so nerve-wracking and I was literally shaking on the board."

Tia, who was picked out as a talented athlete in-the-making when she was a 10 year old at Carfield Primary school in Heeley, showed mental strength to overcome her jitters.

"I try to zone out and pretend I am in training in my home pool (Ponds Forge, where she is also a trainer.) It was my biggest ever achievement, especially as a second-year student (Hallam University) I’ve been under a lot of pressure. It's been crazy for me lately but when I got the gold all that hard work had paid off and I was super-happy.

"I couldn't wait to phone my mum and dad - all I have ever wanted is to make them proud.

"Next up is the British National Cup in the Summer. I need to keep going, stay positive and do my best to help showcase a sport that doesn't get a lot of publicity."

The former Newfield school pupil has had to overcome several injuries to reach the top of her sport.

Tia McGarry

On one occasion, she was visited in hospital by Sheffield Wednesday players, after surgery to her foot.

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She has had back problems too.

Now she is twinning her diving with her education, she plans to train at Sheffield Childrens Hospital in September as a bio-medical scientist.

*Nikki Smith, Sheffield Diving Manager, said: “Tia began diving in 2009 when the Sheffield Diving coaching team talent spotted Tia in our annual primary school talent search.

Tia McGarry with Lucy Hawkins who won the silver medal in the same event

“This is the first time that Tia has competed for Great Britain, so to perform so consistently and come away with a gold medal is a fantastic achievement.

“It is always satisfying to see athletes who have been selected from local schools and developed through Sheffield Diving’s world class training programme achieving at such a high level. We hope that it encourages and inspires others to come and give diving a go.”

FACTFILE:

*Sheffield Diving Club is one of the top clubs in the UK.

*It has had an Olympian at every Olympic Games since 1992 – 2016.

*It had two divers at the 2018 Commonwealth Games – Ross Haslam and Jack Haslam.

Six years ago: Sheffield Wednesday's first team squad visited the Sheffield Childrens Hospital.. and then-player Gary Madine presented Tia McGarry with a Teddy Bear

*Last year, 018 Ross Haslam won silver medal at the European Championships

*The club won the most medals of any club in the UK at the recent Junior Elite Championships – the highest level of junior competition in the country

*At the same time Tia was in Ukraine, Head Coach Tom Owens was at the Canada and Los Angeles Grand Prix events with diver, Jordan Houlden, who won silver and gold in the 3m synchronised events.