Richmond’s Francesca Del Celo believes 2014 could be a make or break year for her senior diving career as she bids to represent Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics.
The former St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School pupil made a promising start to the year as she claimed four medals at the British Gas National Cup in Southend last week.
The Genovese-born diver claimed individual junior and senior bronze in the women’s one metre final on Friday, before winning individual women’s three metre silver, and women’s doubles three metre women’s synchronised silver.
Del Celo competes for Plymouth Diving Club – where Tom Daley learned his trade under the guidance of Andy Banks – and feels her haul has boosted her confidence ahead of her bid to land a place at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July.
“I feel I have significantly improved in the past year and this showed in my performances,” she said.
“2014 is a really important year for me in terms of my further development and I couldn’t have got off to a better start.”
She added: “My coach Andy Banks has been terrific. He has been nothing but enthusiastic and positive since he started to work with me.
“His diving techniques and knowledge have really helped me to progress.
“Getting to the Olympics is my ultimate goal and I will do anything possible to make sure I am in strong contention.”
But neither Del Celo, below, or her number one fan are getting too excited.
“She has come a long way and has just as much chance as anyone to represent Great Britain at the Olympics,” said her mother Santina.
“But we are taking one step at a time. 2014 is an important year for her.”