Maisie Bond triumphed spectacularly at the Irish Open Diving Championships by becoming a triple champion. She dominated all her competitions in the 10/11 years age group, winning the 3 metre and platform events by around 40 points. Grace Ally also had a great championship. She too became a triple medallist, winning gold in the 12/13 years platform event and taking the silver medal on 1 metre and 3 metre springboards. In the 14/15 years competitions, Elliot Johnson produced fine performances to complete the Sheffield Diving triple hat-trick. He won gold on 3 metre and silver medals on 1 metre springboard and platform. Sephora Ford, in the same age group for girls, brought home 2 medals, taking silver on the 1 metre springboard and bronze on 3 metre. Clare Cryan was a great ambassador for Sheffield Diving during a 15 year diving and coaching career that brought many national and international honours. She recently moved to the Shamrock Diving Club in Ireland and showed her top class pedigree by winning the women’s 1 metre and 3 metre springboard titles. Strong performances were also given by Jessica Vega, Molly Bulmer, Isaac Trueman-Marsden, Joseph Pashley, Frankie Curtis, Harrison Hartley, Harrison Case, Oliver Hoban and Owen Harrison.
In a glittering ceremony at the University of Birmingham last weekend, Sheffield Diving won the Swim England, Performance Club of the Year Award. The prestigious trophy from the sport’s national governing body was presented by Sheffield’s Olympic swimmer Ellie Faulkner. Adding to the Sheffield connection, the event was compered by Leon Taylor, silver medallist in the platform synchronised diving competition at the Athens Olympic games in 2004 and now one of the world’s leading diving commentators. Sheffield Diving is one of the top diving clubs in the country. Based at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, one of the best diving facilities in the UK, it has the fantastic achievement of producing at least one diver for every Olympic Games since 1992. In total, the role of honour consists of 12 Olympians and 55 senior and junior Internationals. As well as providing a top quality elite diving programme, the ‘Learn to Dive’ programme is open to everyone through its weekly diving lesson scheme and holiday camps. The club is the only Home Country Development Centre in the UK, offering an excellent education and qualification programme for their own coaches and coaches from other clubs. Determined to offer the highest possible quality opportunity to its athletes, Sheffield Diving has partnerships with Sheffield Hallam University, Absolute Nutrition, BackActive Chiropractic Clinic and Holywell Health. The Club is run by a dedicated committee of parents and volunteers with many other parents helping throughout the year.
Sheffield Diving started the new season in fine style by taking the Team Trophy at the White Rose Novice Championships in Leeds. In the 8/9 years events, Hannah Gowan won a gold medal, Archie Biggin bronze and Etta Dodsworth came 4th. Sheffield’s other gold medallist was Phoebe Prescott in the 10 years event for girls with Elsie Greig winning bronze and Sophie-Mae Hancox in 5th place. In the same age group for boys, Samuel Roberts-Morris was the silver medallist. Silver medals were also won by Hannah Blake and Theo Johnson in the 11 years competitions. Lola Mead took a bronze medal while Ned Curtis, Harry Burton and Hannah Blackwell came 4th, 5th and 6th respectively. Ralfie Clark won silver in the 12 years event as did Nikki Charlesworth in the 13 years competition for girls with Alice Prescott taking bronze. William Bond was 6th in the final of the 14/15 years event. Strong performances were also given by Lucy Maltby, Chloe Strutt, Charlotte Soames, Jessica Ireland, Gabrielle Vickers, Jasmine Price and David Craven, winning vital team trophy points.
As the elite international divers and swimmers left Budapest following their respective World Championships earlier this month, a swathe of new diving talent arrived in the city for the World Masters Championships including a fine team of seven divers drawn from the Sheffield Diving and Maltby Diving Clubs. After a brilliant set of performances the team returned to South Yorkshire with 7 medals including 4 gold medals. Michael Barnes from Maltby won both the 1 metre and 3 metre gold medals and took silver in the platform competition. Sheffield’s Jane Cooke (ne. Smith) was also a multi-gold medallist, becoming champion on both the 1 metre and 3 metre springboards in the 40-44 years age group. This was former Olympic diver Jane’s return to competitive diving after a break of many years and she demonstrated her enduring quality by scoring highest of all the women in the championship. Like Michael, Jane also won the 3 metre competition by nearly 70 points scoring 60 points with a back 1½ somersault with 2½ twists. Nikki Walker produced an excellent performance to take the silver medal in the 35-39 years platform event and Michael Barnes increased his personal medal tally to 4 when he teamed up with Shaun Tesh of Sheffield to win the bronze medal in the 3 metre springboard synchro competition. Fine performances were also produced by Neeltje Sturman (Sheffield), Chris Long and Kev Davidson (both Maltby. Neeltje improved her personal best score in all three events in which she competed. Crucial to the success of the team was coach Russ Preece. For very many years Russ has been a linchpin of the South Yorkshire diving community, coaching weekly in both Sheffield and Maltby.
Sheffield’s long tradition of diving excellence is in good hands. Sharing Ponds Forge’s excellent facilities with Olympians and World Championship contenders there is a new crop of youngsters making headlines. At the National Skills Finals held at the Olympic pool in London, Archie Biggin won the 8/9 years gold medal and Lewis Neilson took gold in the competition for the 10 years age group. Both produced fine performances to win their events by around 30 points from divers drawn from clubs across the country and abroad. Alice Prescott was the bronze medallist in the 13 years event with Nikki Charlesworth in 4th place. Lucy Maltby also came 4th in the 8/9 years competition with Etta Dodsworth 6th. Phoebe Prescott was 4th in the 10 years competition with Charlotte Soanes 6th while in the 11 years event Ned Curtis came 5th and Harry Burton 6th.Very good contributions to the team performance also came from, Chloe Strutt, Jessica Ireland, Hannah Blake, Hannah Blackwell, Gabrielle Vickers, Jasmine Price, Samuel Roberts-Morris and Theo Johnson.