Diving Into The Commonwealth Games
by Stephanie Williams
Emily Meaney is a born and bred Hobartian who is on her way to the Commonwealth Games to represent Australia in Diving. We managed to grab some time with Emily, in between training sessions, to ask her all about her sport and her love for her hometown.
Congrats on making it to the national team for the Commonwealth Games! How does it feel? I’m very excited, this is my first Comm Games Team and I can’t wait. When I was notified of the selection I was over the moon, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! It is very rewarding that all the years of training and hard work have come together at the right time and paid off.
How much training and prep do you need to do now until the Games? We have about a month before the team leaves for Birmingham. My coach (Ady Hinchliffe) and I will be working to fine tune the five dives that I’ll compete when I’m over there. This is the final stretch so I’m looking forward to giving it my all in the lead up to the games.
Tell us about your years in Hobart? I was born in Hobart and lived there until I was 13 years old. I attended Fahan School until Year 7, which I absolutely loved. I started diving at the Doone Kennedy Hobart Aquatic Centre when I was nine years old with the local club and then started with the NTID (National Talent ID) program when I was 10 years old.
What was life here like for you? Hobart is where I grew up so I have a lot of fond memories associated. I love the laid back Tassie lifestyle and how we always had lots of friends and family around at our house. The view of the river from our house was amazing, we even saw whales from the balcony one day!
Did you need to leave Hobart to further your professional sporting career? Unfortunately, the elite diving program in Tassie was stopped due to small numbers of athletes. To continue to improve I needed to move states, luckily the Brisbane program offered me a spot in their Talent Identification program. My parents were so amazing and our family moved up to Brisbane so I could continue to pursue my goals.
How did you get into diving? I started gymnastics when I was five years old. I always loved to flip and was constantly upside down walking on my hands. I was enrolled in swimming lessons at the local pool but it didn’t really interest me and would always end up watching the diving. One day I asked Mum if I could try, and I’ve never looked back.
What is a typical day like for you as a professional diver? I train eight sessions a week, or about 22 hours. In the morning I will either have a weights or conditioning session. Then during the day, I will go to uni and any appointments I need to, like physio or massage. In the afternoon, I train in the water from 2:30-5:30pm. Then a few nights a week I will coach for my local diving club.
What do you love about Hobart? It holds a special place in my heart as it is where everything started for me. I especially love visiting the snow on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington, the Salamanca Markets, and kayaking around the bays. It is also where a lot of my extended family lives. I also have family on the North-West Coast so I get to travel all around Tassie when I go back to visit which is fun.
When are you coming back to visit? Definitely this Christmas, sooner hopefully if my schedule allows it!
How inspired are you by other Tasmanian athletes? There are so many amazing Tasmanian sports people out there. As a young diver, I always looked up to Julie Kent who represented Tassie and went to both the Commonwealth and Olympic Games in the 10m platform. It is almost surreal that I am now going to the Comm Games for the same event (10m platform). It’s also incredible to have another former Tassie diver Liz Jack on the board of Diving Australia, and of course other amazing athletes like Ariarne Titmus representing the state. For such a small state we have a big showing on the national and international stage which is something to be very proud of.
What are you studying? In 2021, I completed a Bachelor’s of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics at Purdue University in America. I am now in my first year of a Masters of Physiotherapy Studies degree at the University of Queensland. I hope that one day I will be able to give back to sport in Australia as a team sports physio.
Any other words for Hobart? I would like to thank the Tasmanian diving community for their support in my early years of diving. My coaches and teammates were a fundamental part in developing my passion for the sport and I look forward to seeing what Tassie diving has in store for the future!