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Plymouth Diving say everyone has ‘come together’ to keep programme alive

Plymouth Diving has explained how operators, governing bodies, the local council and the diving community have rallied together to keep its programme going while improvement works are carried out at its home pool.

Financial backing was provided to enable the creation of a new dryland diving training facility at a local tennis centre while the Plymouth Life Centre is closed.

Head coach of Plymouth Diving, Alex Rochas, said: “On the day it was announced that the Life Centre was staying closed until 2021, we were very deflated and didn’t know what to do.

“The diving community, Swim England Talent, Everyone Active, Plymouth City Council and British Diving have all come together and stepped up massively to save the programme financially.

“Nothing would have been possible without them and the coaches that gave their time. We are very lucky to have had help from a range of people.”

The creation of the new training facility at Ivybridge Leisure Centre has meant the athletes can continue to stay fit despite being unable to return to full training.

Alex added: “Nearly all of the dryland equipment was transferred in to the tennis court and this was key to the restart of the programme.

“It allowed the programme to survive, divers to start training and coaches to start working.

“The divers have had similar hours of training to this before and for the next six months they will be mainly focusing on their dryland skills.”

The club has also been able to implement a limited amount of water training by travelling to other areas such as Poole and Southampton.

Talent, National Skills, National Age Group and Junior Elite divers have had access to the facilities in Poole every other weekend, while senior and international competitive divers have been accessing The Quays in Southampton up to three weekends a month.

Explaining the arrangements, Alex said: “Swim England Talent and Everyone Active were extremely supportive in making the water training happen.

“The facility in Poole is an Everyone Active site and Swim England Talent allocated some funding to support the coaches cost to travel.”

The situation was similar for the Southampton facility along with additional support from Southampton Diving Club.

Remaining positive

Plymouth Diving has remained positive throughout, despite the difficulties the coaches and athletes have faced.

Alex admitted that sometimes dryland sessions begin to feel repetitive after an extended period and that ‘nothing can replace the feeling of being on poolside and being able to coach actual diving’.

However, the Plymouth-based club has identified two major aspects that have been very important in keeping its athletes motivated.

The first is the occasional water training on weekends that gives something for the divers to work towards and provides them with the opportunity to transfer their dryland skills.

Secondly, keeping the squad together and being able to train together has also been a real positive.

During lockdown, the club utilised a very useful tool which has become familiar to many sports clubs throughout 2020 – Zoom training.

“The divers are loving the fact they can train together again. Especially the older ones, they are keeping in good shape,” Alex added.

“It is more difficult for the younger squads as they are missing the water training and have had several different difficulties to face during this challenging time.

“But we are all very, very much looking forward to returning to the pool.”

Councillor Pete Smith, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “We are seeing really substantial progress in the works at Plymouth Life Centre.

“It was always our intention to get in, get the work done and get the centre open again so that groups can get back to the sports and activities they enjoy.

“We have worked hard with partners to ensure alternative arrangements are in place to facilitate training while the centre is closed.

“I thank the members and sports groups for their support and patience while the centre undergoes these essential repairs.”

The club hope to return to the Plymouth Life Centre later this year once the dryland facilities there have reopened.