Cambridge Diving will have ‘new love, new desire, new strength’ when they return

Cambridge Diving have returned to the water but are still unable to fully train for the sport they love.

Alice Clarke, head coach at the club, said their local centre has reopened – but the diving pool has not.

At the moment, only the swimming pools are open at Parkside Pools due to the cost of maintaining the facilities used for diving.

However, despite the disappointment of not being able to train as they would hope, the club have taken on the motto of ‘some water is better than no water’.

Alice said: “The operators were kind enough to offer and timetable us two hours of main pool time.

“We jumped at the opportunity when they said we could get back in the pool and see our divers face to face.

“We’ve been doing some outdoor training but obviously that has constraints. I think for the divers and coaches, we were all grateful to see each other.

“The main thing is that we just wanted to give the divers an opportunity to see each other and smile.”

On her first time back on poolside, Alice added: “It was incredible. It’s been months.

“Kids grow and they change and become little people. It’s incredible to see the difference in mannerisms and height of some of those kids.

“But also, just to see the big smiles on their faces just puts smiles on our faces.

“You don’t realise how much you miss the coach to athlete relationship and seeing them happy and laughing.”

Diving skills in the pool

The club have been utilising their time in the water to practice skills that are still important within diving.

She said: “For the little ones we did things like push and glide and getting water confidence, travelling down to the bottom of the pool, circling backwards and things like that.

“With the older athletes, we do in-water biometrics so jumping in the water, trying to get their knee out – those sorts of things.

“I think Zoom is great, you can build core strength and flexibility, but diving is a very form-related sport and coaches need to be there saying ‘point your toes’, ‘knees together’ or reminding them why they’re doing things.

“When you’re on Zoom it’s difficult to see everything, so it’s great to just have them there, be under a roof, be able to see certain things and be able to speak to the athletes about everything we need to.”

Focus on the positives

Alice revealed that there is ‘nothing more on her mind’ than a return to full training.

This will be the same for the majority of diving clubs and coaches who also can’t return to training.

Alice added: “Everybody is going to come back stronger.

“It might not feel like it when you first get back in the pool but it’s going to be better.

“We’re all going to love it a bit more and we’re going to appreciate it a bit more.

“The amount of workouts and everything that has been going on over this time, there’s no way that we won’t come back stronger.

“You’ll have a new love, you’ll have a new desire and you’ll have new strength.

“There’s definitely positives to take – we just have to focus on those.”