Interview with Matty Lee

Matty Lee is part of the British team competing at the FINA Diving World Series. Alongside picking up medals of his own around the world, he’s also recently paired up with Tom Daley in the 10m synchro. You can see the pair in action at the FINA diving event taking place in the London Aquatics Centre from 17–19 May! Book your tickets now – sessions are selling fast.

What can people expect from this event?
It’s the top divers in the whole world competing against one another. You’ll see most of the Olympic champions plus even more amazing divers – it’s a world-class event!

Do you need to know anything about diving to enjoy it?
I don’t think so. It’s really family-friendly, and definitely something you’d enjoy even if you don’t follow diving. The last time this event has held at the London Aquatics Centre it was run really well and they worked hard to make it accessible for anyone in the crowd who didn’t know diving, so things were explained as they went along and it gave people the chance to learn about diving while the event was taking place! There’s also a focus on getting in kids from local schools so they can be introduced to diving at a young age.

How old were you when you started diving?
I was 7 years old when I took up diving, and it was my older brother who got me into it. Back then it was a niche sport so we’ve got no idea how he got into it in the first place! These days Tom Daley has really helped bring the sport into the spotlight and generate a lot more interest in it, which is great.

Speaking of Tom Daley, what’s it like working with him?
It’s been really good – he’s such a nice, genuine guy. It’s a privilege to be working with one of the best divers in the world and I’m learning so much from him – he’s said he’s learnt a few things from me too which is nice to hear.

You started diving together in October. Does it take a while to get into the rhythm with a new partner?
It can do, but luckily it didn’t take too long for us – we get on well and are quite similar in terms of weight and height. I did have to learn a new dive to be able to compete with him – a back 3 ½ somersault pike.

Do you prefer solo or synchro diving?
Both are very different. I think synchro can be more fun – it helps when you’re friends too as there’s always that level of trust, which can result in a better performance as you’re more relaxed before the dive. That said, the pressure can be higher with synchro diving as you don’t want to let your partner down!

How have you found training in the London Aquatics Centre?
It’s great! I’m originally from Leeds but moved down to Stratford when I started working with Tom. I’ve really enjoyed exploring the Park too – you can completely forget you’re in London. I moved down here in October and my first week here had lovely weather so I hired a bike and cycled around the Park. I had no idea the area was so green!

What’s a good way in to diving? What should people know about the sport?
I did gymnastics and swimming when I was younger but I wanted something more, which is why I moved into diving. It’s a very challenging sport, but a good sort of challenging – plus it’s fun! It is quite a scary sport though, because everything rests on the day. We train twice a day, six days a week but when you get to a competition people will only see six dives and you’ve got one shot at each of them – it’s like taking six penalties at the World Cup!