Success inspires almost 200 to try diving as search begins for Sandwell head coach

The success of Team England’s divers at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has helped attract almost 200 youngsters to the sport.

Here, Sarah Barrow, Swim England West Midlands Diving Development Officer, gives on update on the four-year strategy for the region to increase participation and develop champions of the future.

Post Birmingham 2022, the West Midlands Diving Project has now entered the second phase of the 2021-2025 strategy.

A brilliant performance from England’s divers saw them surpass their medal target for the Commonwealth Games and finish as the top diving team.

Those inspirational performances have seen the three feeder programmes in Solihull, Walsall and Sutton Coldfield attract more than 50 new divers – while a further 130 have taken part in Inspired to Try sessions across the region.

Work is also continuing to progress within the Sandwell Diving programme and key milestones are being hit with funding from Sport England and the Inspire2022 project.

So things are continuing to move in the right direction and here is how the four elements of the strategy have progressed in recent weeks.

Diving pathway

The three feeder sites are continuing to develop and produce more coaches and diving sessions to cope with the demand. 

The Sandwell Aquatic Centre diving programme will open up a lot more spaces for children, teenagers and adults along with community groups, schools and universities to enjoy a new activity whilst the feeder sites develop skills through the Diving Awards.

We now have a registration of interest form for the Sandwell Diving Programme and you can sign up here.

Widening participation

The Inspired to Try open day sessions, funded by The Swimming Trust, were a huge success.

A total of 130 children took part at Wyndley Leisure Centre and Tudor Grange Leisure Centre and sessions for children with disabilities were provided thanks to funding from the Eveson Trust and the Bodenham Trust.

The free taster sessions meant the feeder programmes were able to extend their timetables with extra diving sessions to fit in the demand.

Diving events are scheduled for autumn 2023 and it is important a volunteer workforce is now built.

Four coaches have completed the first step on the officials’ pathway and achieved their Judge 1 certificate. 

Work will continue over the next 12 months to build a network of volunteers and to also feed in to the Sandwell Diving Club once formed.

Anyone who is keen to get involved can complete this register your interest form.


A lot of activity has been focused on the upskill of the workforce.

This is to ensure diving activity continues in the Region and the sport becomes more accessible.

A total of 25 swim teachers from Serco, Freedom and Places Leisure have completed the Stage 8-10 Diving CPD over the summer, allowing them to teach the fundamental skills of diving as part of the learn to swim programme. 

This is a great way of giving children a chance to try a new activity and furthermore look for lessons in pools with diving boards.

A diving assistant coach course, funded by The Swimming Trust and The Keith and Joan Mindelsohn Charitable Trust, is taking place this month with nine West Midlands candidates enrolled.

Two assistant coaches completed their coach course in Southend in May, while three more are to be considered for a Coach course in November/December in the South East. 

The West Midlands Coach Mentorship programme has provided visits to Sheffield Diving Club, while there is a scheduled visit to Dive London.

The aim is for those on the Swimming Trust-funded programme to gain experience and insight by seeing a full diving pathway, which will be available at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, in action.

Partnership delivery

Dive West Midlands is part of Swim England’s Inspire22 strategy. 

It continues to work with the steering group to achieve the vision of a nation swimming and its mission to use Birmingham 2022 as a catalyst for sustainable change, improving pathways and opportunities for people to participate in aquatics. 

Creating sustainability within the feeder diving programmes and Sandwell Diving Programme sustainable is hugely important within the work that is being delivered. 

Partnerships with Sandwell Leisure Trust and Sandwell Council are working towards this within the timelines well.

Sandwell Leisure Trust has started the recruitment process for a diving head coach.

This is an exciting opportunity to help shape and develop the diving pathway from the very beginning and be the driving force begin the set up of the programme – and the Sandwell Diving Club.

To find out more and apply, visit the Careers in Aquatics website.