IN August last year diver James Connor's Olympic dreams lay in tatters after doctors discovered stress fractures in his back.
The 17-year-old former Glen Waverley resident moved to Queensland in late 2010 after making Australia's Commonwealth Games team, with dual goals of doing well in Delhi and making the London Olympic Games.
Things were largely looking positive for Connor until last August when the stresses of training finally got to his teenage body, resulting in several stress fractures in his lower back.
Connor had spent eight years training for the chance to make the Olympics and with the diving team trials set for March this year he faced an almost impossible race against time to get fit enough to compete.
"With all the training I did and all the forces you deal with, eventually something is going to give and it's not going to be the water," he said.
"I was advised by my physio, who deals with a lot of Olympic athletes, that the general rule with my type of injury was you had to take your time out of the sport and multiply it by two to know when you would get back to where you were before your injury.
"I was sidelined until December, then I had three months to get back to PB level [personal best] for the trials."
To get himself ready, Connor and his coaches decided to pull out all stops to accelerate his training and boost his slim hopes of diving in the trials.
"We had to take risks and push me to the limits," he said. "My training increased and my physio increased. I had more regular sessions and more physio sessions and managed to get to the trials.
"When training amped up, I trained smarter as well; I tried to take in everything my coach was telling me."
At the trials Connor had to make the top two in his event, the 10-metre platform, and score above a certain number. He ended up doing both by taking a second-place finish, but that wasn't all he needed to do to get to London.
The divers still eligible for the London team had to get the same or better scores at one of the two grand prix events in America and Canada.
Remarkably, Connor's back held up through his travels and the event. Last week, he was formally selected for the Olympics.
"When you are training for all this time, you assume that it's probably too far out of reach, " he said.
"To get selected is amazing. I don't know how to describe it. But to experience this process, this journey is amazing as well.
"I'm going to soak up all the experiences of London."
Connor finished eighth in the grand prix events, which he said didn't have a field as competitive as he would face in London. He said he refused to set goals for certain placings because so much of his event was out of his control.
"All I can do is dive as well as I possibly can or at least to the level of my training," he said.
"But placings and medals are out of my control because it depends on judges and the performance of other athletes."
Connor's parents, Vance and Joan, made major sacrifices in 2010 to allow James to move to Brisbane and train full-time with the Australian coaches.
Joan has been commuting between Brisbane and Melbourne while Vance has been home in Glen Waverley with three of their daughters. Another daughter is married and lives in Sydney.
The Connors get access to diving tickets as parents of a competitor but Joan said she and Vance would be the only family members to head to London.
Connor said he couldn't wait to take to the platform in London, although he will have some wait with his event as it's not scheduled until the second last day of competition.
"For me, making the team has been the greatest thank-you I can give to my parents," Connor said.
"I'm so grateful for everything they have done.
"For any sacrifices I've made they have made just as many and I hope feel proud and as much as part of this achievement as I have been."
While after the Games seems a long way into the future, Connor said he wanted to qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2018 and he had many opportunities for higher education including possible scholarships from US colleges.