Favourite Things: Olympic diver shares his thoughts on Sheffield’s best

Diver Freddie Woodward tells the telegraph that his favourite things is Ponds Forge
Diver Freddie Woodward tells the telegraph that his favourite things is Ponds Forge

Freddie Woodward is a full-time diver.

He has been national champion four times and won a bronze medal in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Ponds Forge swimming pool in Sheffield

Ponds Forge swimming pool in Sheffield

The highlight of his career was competing this summer for Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Freddie was born in Ecclesall and has lived and trained in Sheffield his entire life.

He is now 21 years old, and, despite coming away from the Olympic Games with a Brazilian girlfriend, he intends to remain in Sheffield to work towards competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.



Ponds Forge has been my second home for 13 years. I spend up to five hours of training time there every day.

It is one of the country’s leading sports facilities with world class diving and swimming programmes.

We are very proud that Sheffield Diving has produced an Olympian in every single Olympic Games since Ponds Forge opened in 1991.

Top level infrastructure such as Ponds Forge has put Sheffield firmly on the sporting map and I am extremely lucky to have been born in a city with such excellent facilities.

English Institute of Sport (EIS)/Sheffield

Hallam University

These fantastic facilities and their professional staff contribute immensely to my diving progress and the achievements of many local and national athletes in different disciplines.

The medical team and gym facilities at the EIS have been used by top Sheffield based athletes, including Anthony Joshua from the Team GB boxing squad and Jessica Ennis-Hill.

My strength work and analysis is managed at the Sheffield Hallam Collegiate campus where I have access to a state of the art gym and fitness technology.

Savills, devonshire street

I have had my hair cut at Savills barbers for several years and have watched it grow into one of Sheffield’s iconic modern businesses.

The service that the shop’s owner Joth Davies and his team provide is second to none.

Savills has been voted the UK’s number one barber shop, and people travel from far and wide to have their hair styled here, such is the standard on offer.

Also, the shop is well worth checking out for its unique décor – wooden panelling, vintage chairs for customers and even pet birds in a cage.

Green and Benz

A jewellery store near to Savills on Division Street, which is home to many interesting shops.

Green and Benz managing director Helen Dimmick has taken an interest in the diving club and created a diamond incentive scheme where divers receive diamonds for outstanding performances.

Helen highlights similarities between the young emerging diving talents and rough diamonds.

It is the polishing and training that unearths the stones’, and athletes’, full potential.

It is a beautiful store where you receive high-quality service from expert jewellers.

Cubana, leopold square

Cubana is my favourite bar in the city.

It is a great bar and venue for live music, as well as dancing.

I love salsa and kizomba dancing and therefore get myself to Cubana as often as I can.

Dancing is a great way to switch off from the pressures of diving.

Green Spaces

Sheffield is often called the ‘Green City’ and it’s a reputation that it truly deserves.

My childhood years were spent playing in Millhouses Park, Ecclesall Woods and walking through the neighbouring Peak District national park.

The green aspect to Sheffield is unique and offers a strong contrast to most busy cities.

Proximity and


‘Fifteen minutes’ – the response I always give when asked how far away I am… regardless of location and destination.

This has to be one of my favourite things about living in Sheffield.

A city that is full of activity and plenty of people and yet travel time, in comparison with other major UK cities, is minimal.