Plymouth school to turn out to support star pupil Shanice Lobb
SHANICE LOBB will not be short of support when the hot Plymouth prospect takes on the 'best in Britain' at the Life Centre today.
Almost 100 passionately one-sided fans from Devonport High School for Girls will be cheering on Plymouth Diving starlet Lobb and fellow student Kayleigh Sinclair at the three-day British Gas Diving Championships.
That means the whole of the 15-year-old's fellow Year 10 students will be watching from the galleries as Lobb, with partner Georgia Ward, challenges top Brits and European champions Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow in the women's synchro.
Lobb has every right to be feeling 'a little nervous' as she prepares for the biggest test of her career against Plymouth Diving club-mates and Olympians Couch and Barrow.
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In all, 92 students and seven staff will cross Outland Road to hail the city's newest and brightest diving talent as the nationals are hosted at the Life Centre for the first time.
Even Tom Daley – no stranger to himself to competing under the spotlight – said of her fan base: "Blimey, no pressure then – best of luck Shanice."
However, Lobb is keeping her feet and expectations squarely off the top board and said she had been touched both by the support and also her school for their forbearance in allowing her time off for training and competitions.
In spite of her youth, Lobb is becoming an experienced globetrotter having competed and returned with plaudits and a medal from prestigious overseas meets in Australia in 2012.
But for Lobb, the big test now is not Down Under but challenging her heroes and looking good in front of her mates.
Lobb told Herald Sport: "I am a bit nervous of my school watching me.
"I've also got two new dives to do, which I have not been doing for long. It's only my second time doing platform synchro.
"My partner and myself will be aiming to beat our personal best from last month's (Australian) Youth Olympics.
"If we do that we will be very pleased with ourselves.
"Also, I'm going to be competing against senior women for the first time at a competition of this standard.
"I'm simply hoping to try my best and see where I come.
"It's just a matter of looking forward to competing with the best British divers."
Catalyst for her nigh-on three-figure support group is Devonport High's PE teacher Kathy McKee, who wanted to support both Lobb and Sinclair.
Ms McKee also discovered the diving championships and specifically when Lobb was competing in the 10m platform synchro, coincided with a Year 10 PE lesson.
Viewing this as a golden opportunity, DHSG head Anita Hemsi suggested funding half the cost of the tickets so 92 students and seven staff could attend.
Ms Hemsi said: "Everyone at DHSG is incredibly proud and supportive of Shanice and Kayleigh and their achievements in diving.
"All the staff wish both students the best of luck for this competition and hope the extra support from the Year 10 girls today will give Shanice a boost."
Lobb is also in action today in the 1m individual and tomorrow in the women's 10m individual and 3m synchro with Sinclair on Sunday.