Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix might be a double Commonwealth and European champion but the diving sensation still has to fight the everyday battles of a teenager.
At the beginning of 2022, the 18-year-old from London was struggling to manage the stress of being an elite athlete and schoolgirl.
But with an incredible support system behind her, she pushed on and erupted onto the senior world stage, an achievement that saw her named National Lottery Awards 2022 Athlete of the Year after beating the likes of Eilish McColgan and Laura Kenny in a public vote.
Spendolini-Sirieix, who won two Commonwealth and European golds this summer, said: “I’m very proud with how far I’ve come this year and very happy that I didn’t give up.
“It feels good to know that my hard work has been recognised and that it’s not going undetected.
“Competition is very stressful and I do have to juggle a lot of things.
“I have to juggle school and exams and training and at times it does become very overwhelming.
“I’m only human and I’m not perfect and I will never be perfect but I can try very hard.”
Spendolini-Sirieix, daughter of TV star from Channel 4 hit show Fred Sirieix, is one of more than 1,000 elite athletes funded by The National Lottery through UK Sport’s World Class Programme.
And after emerging from Birmingham 2022 with the individual 10m platform title, mixed 10m synchro gold and women’s 10m synchro silver, it’s evident that the teenager has come a long way since the eight-year-old who was scared to jump in the pool.
She said: “What I achieved in the Commonwealth Games with two gold medals and two pbs. Those competitions are really special, especially the individual.
“My coach always says, ‘hard work beats talent’ and I work so hard and all the blood sweat and tears were for something.”
Spendolini-Sirieix carried her top form into the European Championships in Rome in August, taking two golds and a bronze.
That was a feat considered even more impressive knowing that the Olympic finalist and her women’s 10m synchro partner Lois Toulson had never dived in the event together before.
Spendolini-Sirieix added: “At Europeans, that day was the first day Lois and I had ever trained on 10m synchro together so we had no expectations.
“We were both exhausted but thought ‘ just go and have fun.
“We work very well together and didn’t have to change too much or compromise which is very good in a synchro pairing but we did very well and our dives worked well together.”
It’s hard to remember that Spendolini-Sirieix is still only at the beginning of what is set to be an illustrious career.
And with Paris 2024 on the horizon, the diver can only hope her recognition as the National Lottery Athlete of the Year can boost her already growing support.
She said: “I’m just speechless. It’s mind-blowing. To be one of the nominees and then to have won, I don’t really know how to describe how I’m feeling. I’m just very, very thankful.
“It gives me a lot of joy because I love what I do, I love my sport. To win accolades and awards like this, it’s such a beautiful sport and it’s incredible.”
No-one does more to support our athletes than National Lottery players, who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes including grassroots and elite sport. For more information about The National Lottery Awards, visit lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and follow the campaign on Twitter @LottoGoodCauses #NLAwards.