MEREWETHER diver Sam Fricker has booked a ticket to the Tokyo Games - a decade after walking into Lambton Pool as brash nine-year-old and declaring he was going to be an Olympian.
Fricker, 19, is part of a new-look men's team alongside Cassiel Rousseau, 20, and Shixin Li, 33.
All three are making their Olympics debut and join female divers Melissa Wu, Anabelle Smith, Esther Qin and Nikita Hains.
Wu will line up for her fourth Olympics, while Rio bronze medalist Smith will compete in her third Games and Qin at her second.
"It was insane to hear my name read out," said Fricker, who grew up in Merewether before relocating to Sydney last year. "I got my ticket and [Olympic] jacket but it still feels so surreal. It is amazing. It has always been a dream to go to an Olympics. I have the ticket now and it still feels surreal."
Fricker all but secured his spot when he finished second in the 10 metre platform at the Australian Championships in Sydney last week.
He scored 1198.65 points from 18 dives to take silver behind runaway winner Rousseau (1395.05).
"That was the most stressful competition. I was so nervous," he said.
"After the last dive I gave my coach a hug and knew 90 per cent that I had done everything I had to do. I hit the score, got the place. Then we had to wait 48 hours for Diving Australia [to ratify the results] and then wait for the official announcement today."
Fricker, who attended Junction Public School and Hunter School of Performing Arts, took up diving at Lambton Pool after previously excelling at gymnastics and trampolining.
"Ever since I was a kid I always dreamed about going to the Olympics," Fricker told the Newcastle Herald before the nationals. "I just never knew how I was going to get there, with what sport. I was doing trampolining and gymnastics and then moved over to diving, but when I saw Matt Mitcham win Olympic gold I was really inspired to do that myself."
Wu joins Jenny Donnet and Loudy Tourky-Wiggins as Australia's only four-time Olympic divers, with the Beijing silver medallist and three-time world championship medallist securing her nomination with a dominant win in the women's 10m trials.
"The road to Tokyo has certainly been a long one, and now that we are at the pointy end of the journey I just can't wait to get on the platform and put forward my very best," Wu said.
"Being my fourth Games I think I have a good understanding of how to manage my emotions and expectations, and more than anything else just understand what to expect at an Olympic competition.
"Although Tokyo will no doubt look and feel different to Beijing, London, and Rio, when I step out onto the platform it will be just like any other competition."
Shixin, at 33, makes history as the oldest Australian diver to make their Olympic debut.
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