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'Incredible achievement' as Sheffield Diving Club named as finalists for award

City of Sheffield Diving Club officials say they are ‘honoured’ after being named as finalists in this year’s Community Sport and Recreation Awards.

The club is one of three finalists for the ‘Resilience in Adversity’ award, a new category introduced by event organisers, The Sport and Recreation Alliance.

In total there are twelve finalists vying for each of the four prestigious awards.

Nikki Smith, Diving Manager at the club, said: “To be named as finalists feels like an incredible achievement.

“We are lucky to have a fantastic team of coaches who, from day one of lockdown, were absolutely set on supporting our members, their families, and the wider diving community to the best of their ability.

“Being nominated for this award recognises and celebrates the hard work, team spirit, and commitment that has gone into the last 11 months by everyone at the club.

“I have been a member of the City of Sheffield diving club for over 25 years as a former diver, coach, and committee member – and I have never been as proud to be part of the club as I am today”

Activity during lockdown

The club has been extremely active throughout the lockdown periods in England, creating innovative ways to engage with its members and the wider diving community.

These spanned everything from live workouts, cook alongs, various challenges and social events that the whole family could be a part of.

Nikki said: “We delivered live home workouts, had zoom sessions five times a week, outdoor squad training (when permitted), as well as weekly guest coach sessions.”

The guest coach sessions, which included boxing fitness, yoga, ballet conditioning, pilates, and callisthenics had great variety and were designed to both engage and motivate members.

Some of the non-workout focused sessions included ‘weekly Try it Tuesday cooking recipes, scavenger hunts, family quizzes, bingo nights, and a talent competition’.

The club also developed the Sheffield Diving Online Home Portal where content and videos were uploaded for members, as well as creating a series of 10 diving specific technical tutorials that were made available to clubs in Yorkshire and the rest of the UK to utilise.

As well as all that work, Nikki said: “The club set up a Crowdfunder Campaign in which members walked, cycled and ran the distance from Ponds Forge Sports Centre to the International Pool in Rome, where we would have finished our 2020 competition season.

“To help achieve the mileage, one coach completed a marathon and five half-marathons. We almost doubled our original mileage target of 2199 miles and our members reached 4195.35 miles in just over a week!”

Incredible resilience

Following the easing of restrictions after the initial lockdown, the club was notified that their training facility, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, would not reopen until April 2021.

“The aquatics clubs of the city joined forces and members successfully campaigned to Sheffield City Council to overturn that decision and open at the end of October 2020”, she said.

Due to national lockdowns, their facility has only remained open for a total of 42 days since March last year.

However, Nikki said that during these times ‘our members continued to persevere and work incredibly hard at home’.

She added: “During the past 11 months, members of Sheffield Diving have shown an incredible amount of resilience, determination, positivity and professionalism and I feel honoured to be part of such a fantastic team.”