Help us to shape the future values and vision of Swim England at our roadshows

Happy return for Leeds Diving but head coach feels frustrations of others

Leeds Diving are one of a small number of diving clubs across the country to have returned to training.

Their head coach, Joe Meszaros, is delighted that his club can get back to some normality but says he can ‘feel the frustration’ of others who are still waiting to return.

The Yorkshire club have been back for two weeks now, the first week was predominantly elite athletes as the club worked to upskill staff.

All squads were then scheduled time in the water during the second week of post-lockdown training.

The club are focusing on pool work initially as they get used to the current environment, manage the cleaning and ensure they adhere to Swim England guidelines.

Joe revealed that as head coach, he placed a lot of pressure on himself.

He said: “There’s been a lot of energy and a lot of time put into this.

“Speaking honestly, you kind of put it on yourself and there’s a lot of expectation. I’ve got to take my hat off to all the parents, divers and coaches because it’s been difficult.

“It’s been tough but they’ve been mindful of that and they’ve been really patient and understanding.

“For me I feel quite privileged and proud that we’ve got our programme back to a point where we’re not just in the pool but we’re taking the first steps to a new normality.

“I’m really proud of the work and energy that’s gone into it and I’m just over the moon.”

Although his club have been able to return, Joe was mindful that the diving community as a whole are struggling.

“But I know it’s probably still very uncertain for a lot of divers,” he added.

“This is a brilliant sport and a big thing I love about it is that there’s a massive community feel and family feel to it.

“By people not being back in the water I can feel their frustration.

“One thing that this period has shown myself and our athletes as well is, it shows how much they value this sport and it’s reignited their passion.

“To see people back doing what they love, it gives it an extra value.”

What does a post-lockdown session look like?

Explaining how sessions now look at Leeds Diving, Joe explained that everyone now enters their centre through a fire door compared to the usual entrance.

Joe continued: “The divers have got to line up single file from that fire exit, socially distancing, then we’ve put down that they’ve got to wear face coverings.

“I think the guidelines have relaxed a little bit but it’s just something I’d prefer to do at this point.

“Then they’ve got to come in one at a time, sanitise their hands, work through a register which asks if they’ve displayed any symptoms of Covid over the last 24 hours.

“They come through, they work through a one way system to poolside where they have a specific area to drop their bags off.

“It’s all socially distanced, there’s markers on poolside and then they do a socially distanced warm up.

“They’re beach ready so once they’re ready they’ll get in the pool, we’ve got markers all around the pool where the divers have got to stand.

“Once they’ve completed the session they work themselves back over to where the bags are, quick dry and change.

“After they’re done they stand in single file and they are led out by a coach through the one way system then back out another fire exit where they go through to the car park and go home.”

Got to work together

From a coaching perspective, Joe added that ‘there’s a lot of things you have to think about’.

“There’s things that you probably took for granted i.e. having that physical contact to help the athletes and work on technique and being able to hand support them with certain skills.

“Whereas, now you’ve got to be mindful of social distancing, there is a one way system, there is hand sanitising points and it’s not just a responsibility for the coaches but it very much is a two way thing.

“The athletes and coaches have got to work together to ensure that everything is in place and we can all do what we love, which is get back to the pool and dive.”