“I am going to all the time suppose ‘what if’, however I am not a diver, it isn’t who I’m any extra.”
She could also be solely 18 years outdated, however Victoria Vincent’s life expertise may simply be that of somebody twice her age.
A diving protégé as a teen, she was compelled to surrender the game she beloved after a severe eye harm.
Whereas the bodily ache has lengthy since gone, the consequences on Vincent’s psychological wellbeing have solely simply dissipated as she pursues a brand new profession in drugs.
She advised BBC Sport about her time as a prime younger diver, coaching alongside a few of the world’s greatest, and the problems that adopted the untimely finish to her profession.
The following large diving star
Vincent was solely 11 when she determined to finish a profession as a budding younger actress, having appeared in The King and I on the Royal Albert Corridor in 2009 and the CBBC present The Legend of Dick and Dom.
She moved from south London to Plymouth along with her mom to additional her diving profession and educated every day alongside world champion and worldwide star Tom Daley, in addition to European champions Tonia Sofa and Sarah Barrow.
Vincent thrived in that surroundings and have become British 10m platform champion on the age of 13.
After she was advised she was too younger to characterize England on the 2014 Commonwealth Video games regardless of successful the trials, her coach Andy Banks – who additionally masterminded Daley’s early profession – efficiently appealed to permit her to change into the youngest member of Group England in Glasgow that summer season.
However within the months earlier than she headed to Scotland, her profession had already begun to unravel due to the harm that will finally ship her life in a brand new course.
“I missed my palms as I entered the water and I left my eye open and it simply went black,” Vincent remembers of the day she indifferent the retina in her left eye.
“Once you’re diving off 10 metres you suppose you are just about invincible. I went to the Commonwealth Video games with a dodgy eye. I misplaced my peripheral imaginative and prescient and began to see flashing lights and black dots floating round.
“It was solely after the Video games that I assumed perhaps I ought to get it checked out.”
Vincent went to hospital, hoping to get a short-term repair so she may attend a Nice Britain coaching camp earlier than Christmas in 2014.
“They mentioned to me: ‘In the event you depart [treatment] you might not get your sight again’.”
It was a stark warning. She missed all of 2015, however was match sufficient to return to the highest deck on the diving pool the next yr and received the European junior title.
Whereas her dream of creating the Rio Olympics had gone – a yr’s missed coaching meant she was not in a position to make the required commonplace – she was concentrating on Tokyo 2020 till her eye issues returned.
“I obtained advised I had a cataract, which meant one other operation to interchange the lens, and that weakened my eye,” Vincent provides.
“They mentioned: ‘In the event you have been to dive off 10 metres, we’re unsure whether or not your eye can stand up to that strain distinction between 10 metres and the underside of the pool’.”
‘It was simply actually darkish’
Vincent tried to switch her abilities to the 3m board and 1m springboard, however couldn’t replicate her earlier success.
“I hated it a lot,” she remembers. “I used to enter coaching and I would take a look at the platform and I would just suppose, ‘if I would have sorted it out as quickly because it occurred I should be capable to go off 10 metres’.”
It was at this level that Vincent’s psychological wellbeing began to undergo.
“I had rather a lot happening in my life. I hadn’t fairly sorted some stuff out from my childhood, various stuff occurred after I was transferring to Plymouth which I discovered fairly tough, however I simply form of buried that,” she explains.
“However as quickly as I had this retinal detachment and cataract drawback, and obtained advised I could not do 10 metres any extra and the dream of going to the 2016 or any Olympics was taken away from me, that was when all of it went downhill.
“I simply felt actually down, it was simply actually darkish. I do not even know methods to describe it, it simply didn’t really feel good. The whole lot was so overwhelming, the quantity of stuff that had gone unsuitable was simply an excessive amount of.”
Vincent’s melancholy turned worse when Banks, a person she describes as a “second father”, left Plymouth for a job as Australia’s nationwide coach and it was solely then that she determined she wanted to succeed in out for assist.
“I needed to write down what was unsuitable as a result of I could not even convey myself to say what was unsuitable – I felt so overwhelmed,” she says.
“At factors I assumed that how I felt wasn’t justified. I felt like different folks deserved assist greater than I did, and in order that was fairly tough for me to be a bit egocentric and say, ‘it is my flip, I would like some assist now’.
“However the extra you speak about it, the higher it will get. It is simply attending to the purpose the place you might have the arrogance to come back out and speak about it, and that is one thing that I believe lots of people want to grasp.”
New begin in drugs
Vincent’s story could possibly be seen as one other instance of a sportsperson being elevated to a stage which they weren’t able to deal with at a younger age.
However was it a case of ‘an excessive amount of too younger’?
“Lots of people have mentioned that. However in my view I do not suppose it was,” she says.
“From a really younger age I used to be uncovered to the limelight by way of my performing profession; I carried out on the Royal Albert Corridor, I used to be going to do a movie however I could not as a result of I went to a fitness center competitors as a substitute.
“The issue was that I did not type out the problems that I had after I was youthful, which then accrued over time and simply spilled out when my retina indifferent.”
However when one door closes one other can open and the top of Vincent’s diving profession final yr allowed her to focus all her energies on her research. She is now in her first yr finding out drugs in Plymouth.
“I believe it is made me a stronger, extra resilient individual,” she says of her life experiences to this point.
“I believe due to the experiences I’ve had I would wish to suppose I am extra empathetic, I perceive different folks’s conditions quite a bit higher than I might have finished had I not been by way of this.
“If I hadn’t indifferent my retina, I would not have been in a position to work as arduous as I did in school and get the grades that I did and I would not have been in a position to change into a health care provider.”