Sheffield Diving took a squad of 9 young divers to the John Charles Sports Centre in Leeds to join 64 other divers from 14 clubs in the biggest testing event in the country
The two-day competition puts the divers through a series of physical and technical tests designed to hone in on the most accomplished diving talent, with a view to inviting the best youngsters to join the Swim England Diving Team Z. This two-year programme supports the divers through a series of training camps and aims to prepare them for the prestigious Junior Elite Championships at the end of the period.
The first day consisted of dry-land skills only, which included physical testing of strength, balance and agility, dry-board skills and a diving-based gymnastics routine. The awards were presented by Olympic and Commonwealth Champion diver Jack Laugher and it was a successful day for Sheffield, with the team claiming 5 medals: Gold for Sebastian Willcox in the Boys E category; Silver for Hannah Gowan in Girls E and for Sophie Hancox in Girls D; and Bronze for Archie Biggin in Boys D and Etta Dodsworth in Girls D. Also in the top 6 were Theo Wellington (Boys D) and Jessica Ireland (Girls D).
Day 2 was the day for finally getting wet as the competition moved to the pool and gave the children the chance to show off their skills from the 1m, 3m and 5m boards. Sheffield bagged another set of medals, with Sebastian Willcox wining his second Gold in Boys E.
Also winning Gold was Hannah Gowan in Girls E, while Theo Wellington took Sheffield’s third podium place with a Bronze in the Boys D category. A top 6 place was achieved by Jessica Ireland in Girls D.
The results were then totaled up from both days of the competition to give the overall combined rankings, bringing further success to Sheffield. Sebastian Willcox (Boys E) was awarded his third Gold, with Hannah Gowan (Girls E) also achieving Gold overall. Bronze was awarded to Archie Biggin (Boys D) and top 6 places went to Sophie Hancox and Jessica Ireland (Girls D) and Theo Wellington (Boys D). Great performances from Chloe Strutt and Lucy Maltby also made an important contribution to the squad result.
It was another hugely successful event for Sheffield Diving. The girls squad was placed second overall, the boys squad won the Boys Team trophy and the overall Team Trophy – beating 13 other teams – was won by Sheffield Diving.
Commenting on the events of the weekend, Sheffield Diving coach Georgia Davenport said, “It’s really encouraging to see these younger divers coming through with such good results. We could be seeing some future Olympians making their first steps on the road to success. We’re very proud of their hard work, positive attitudes and fantastic results.”