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‘Team effort’ from diving community sees Live at Five workouts win award

Swim England Diving talent officer Suzie Collins has praised the ‘team effort’ from the diving community to make the Live @ 5 sessions an award-winning success.

The online workouts, which won the Virtual Event of the Year in this year’s British Swimming Awards, helped athletes and coaches stay engaged with their sport during the national lockdowns.

Initially, the sessions were arranged for athletes on Swim England Talent programmes.

However, due to their popularity and success, similar sessions were opened up to the wider public when lockdown two was announced.

The Swim England Diving talent team worked alongside British Diving to provide the virtual workouts.

Some of the activities included expert advice on yoga and mindfulness from Olympic medallist Leon Taylor, as well as Josh Devine’s ballet conditioning sessions for diving.

On why the team wanted to arrange these sessions, Suzie said: “As soon as the pools closed, we knew that the athletes on our talent programmes would need support through the lockdown.

“We sat down with the coaches of our Talent Development Centres and pulled together a plan of support to cover both the physical and psychological challenges that the athletes faced in lockdown.

“It took a bit of time for everyone, myself included, to get used to operating on Zoom and using our team management app – TEAMAPP.

“However it wasn’t long before we had the athletes, coaches and support staff all on board.

“There was such an emphasis on creating a routine in lockdown for everyone and Live @ 5 really helped the divers to achieve that.

“Live @ 5 was 100 per cent my favourite part of the day, seeing the athletes continue to progress and work so hard in their living rooms across the country.”

Virtual Event of the Year

Other contenders for the Virtual Event of the Year were The Hive and #MyJapaneseAdventure Virtual Cooking.

The former was the annual British Para-Swimming Conference, which this year took place online for the first time, and saw guest speakers such as ex-soldier and Invictus Games swimmer David Wiseman.

The virtual cooking sessions offered an insight into Japanese culture ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Around 80 athletes from across all aquatic disciplines were taught how to make an authentic chicken katsu curry over Zoom.

All three offered invaluable experiences but it was the Live @ 5 sessions that were voted as the winners.

Suzie added: “It is great that Live @ 5 has been recognised and received an award.

“It was a real team effort with our talent coaches and Julian Bellan from British Diving as well as all the athletes that took part and led the Q&A sessions.

“It was a lovely surprise just before Christmas!

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that was involved as well as everyone that voted for us.

“I have received some truly heart-warming messages from athletes and parents over the last 10 months.

“Getting feedback from coaches and athletes really helped us to shape the programme going forward.

“It lasted for a lot longer than we initially thought and the feedback really helped us make sure we were providing the support and guidance needed.”

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