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I began diving through talent identification testing at primary school about 18 years ago and fell in love with the sport and the family I gained from being a part of City of Sheffield Diving Club. I watched many of my friends quit along the way but I was determined to succeed in what I loved.
Learning new dives, as a young person was very scary, I faltered and began to question my future. Moving groups Tom Owens (professional coach, accepted to support at Olympics 2021 in Tokyo) began coaching me. Through his encouragement he supported me and I developed trust and that fear of learning new dives started to disappear.
I successfully gained my A-levels, an undergraduate degree and some international qualifications and continued diving training throughout. After graduating I decided to take a break, but I missed the training and competition, so I returned full time with the focus on qualifying for the Olympic Games in 2020 and representing Ireland.
My qualifying trials were planned for April 2020, but with the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 due to COVID I felt despondent. The plan is to qualify for the European Championship and battle to qualify in the FINA Diving world cup in both in May 21. This is led by Oliver Dingley 2016 Olympic finalist. Representing Ireland is my dream, if successful I will be the first Irish female diver. Tokyo Olympics is rescheduled for the Summer of 2021.
If I successfully gain a place in the top 18 semi-finalist, I will be against some of the best divers from across the world such as Jenifer Abel from Canada and Sarah Bacon from the USA.
Life after diving: During lockdown, I found out about Football Family and the Coach Activator course, this gave me the opportunity to start preparation for life after diving.
Tom Owens – Sheffield Diving Head Coach & Coach for the British Diving Team
Throughout lockdown I have been working with the Football Family to attain my Level 2 Coach Activator qualification. The course has given me focus and enabled me to use the opportunity to expand my knowledge in areas such as Health & Safety, Adult Safeguarding and Mental Health Awareness. I have been able to take part in a comprehensive range of CPD opportunities, that I wouldn’t have normally been able to do, due to traveling for competitions.
I began my athletic career as a gymnast, aged 4 at the Basingstoke Gymnastics club. I trained in male artistic gymnastics for 10 years, before moving to Andover Salto, where I specialized as a tumbler. I was quickly recognized as a talent, and was invited on to the GB National Tumbling Team. Shortly after my international tumbling debut, aged 16, I was forced to retire from the sport with stress fractures in my lower back.
After a spell of rehabilitation, i began his diving career in Southampton aged 18. I fell in love with the sport, and quickly emerged myself, taking on a full time training schedule, and picking up coaching qualifications in the first 6 months.
In my first four years in diving, I represented Great Britain Internationally 5 times and won numerous national medals. At the same time I began working with my own junior diving squad and quickly realised my passionate for coaching.
In 2009 I moved to Sheffield to continue to dive and coach, but my focus quickly moved to coaching full time. Over the past 12 years I have been recognised as one of the top talent coaches in the country, coaching multiple Junior and Senior British Champions. I have coached Sheffield divers to European, Commonwealth, World Cup representation and currently travel with the British Junior and Senior Diving Team. In 2016 I coached Freddie Woodward to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. I was unable to attend the Olympics myself as Freddie’s coach, due to the limits on coaching accreditations.
In the past 12 months our diving facility has only been open for 42 days and this disruption, coupled with the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, has caused a lot of disappointment for me and my athletes. The focus now is to qualify divers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, rescheduled to July 2021, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022 and the Paris Olympic Games in 2024 and coach at those events.
We’ve recently invested in an online platform called APTEM, this will enable learners to access their learning resources through a laptop, iPad or phone. It will record the time the learner has spent completing their tasks and this will help record their ‘off the job’ hours. As it is a paperless system this will not only make the sign-up process easier and quicker, but all their resources are in one place.
We hope that this will enhance the learner’s journey and in the current situation of COVID19 will help keep them on track as they can work remotely.