Diving, not a sport for wimps

March 13, 2012

By Stefan Wermuth

I had the opportunity to cover a training session of Britain’s future Olympic diving hopefuls at the Crystal Palace Diving Club in London.

When I arrived the session had already started in a dry diving gym.  It was a room full of trampolines, diving boards, mats and mostly young girls performing somersaults or other flips. “Quicker, quicker” shouted one of the three Chinese coaches.

China’s divers are currently dominating the sport.  They won all the gold medals at last year’s world championships. The British diving club decided to recruit Chinese coaches seven years ago when London won the bid to stage the 2012 Olympics.  Now, 15 of the approximately 460 children in the program are in the top England talent squad.

The second part of the training session took part in the actual diving pool.

I know about diving boards from my younger days in the public swimming pool. We were jumping from one and three meter boards and the main target was to wet the sunbathers. The key jump was called ‘’the bomb’’ and the best scores went to the one who splashed the most water.

When I was standing under the roof above the top of the 10-meter platform and saw these young kids performing breathtaking jumps, I realized this was not a sport for wimps and it had nothing to do with wetting sunbathers – this was serious. I took a couple of shots with shaking knees and was glad to descend the stairs.

Hats off and with all my respect!

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