Eilidh Cowe puts West Midlands on map at ESSA National Diving Championships

Eilidh Cowe became the first ever diver to represent the West Midlands region at the ESSA National Diving Championships, as she took on some of the country’s best pupils at the London Aquatics Centre.

Since the schools competition was reformatted to feature the eight Swim England regions, the West Midlands has never featured.

Swim England’s Dive West Midlands project – led by Olympian Sarah Barrow – is seeking to grow the number of people diving in the region, with a new facility being built in Sandwell for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Eilidh has spent seven years at Corby Steel Diving Club but, as she attends school in Rugby, she represented West Midlands at the annual schools competition.

The 12-year-old finished 17th overall, opening with her best dive – an inward pike for 22.50 points.

But the trip down to the Olympic venue was about much more than results for Eilidh.

Her mother, Joanne, said: “She came out of the changing rooms with a big smile on her face and was really positive about it, which is really lovely to see as a parent.

“She saw that there were several others within reaching distance of her, so she didn’t feel she was too far away from the other divers, which was a massive boost for her confidence.”

Beyond Birmingham 2022

Eilidh is playing her part in growing interest in diving throughout the West Midlands, recently featuring alongside some of her Corby team-mates to assist with a Level 1 coaching course at Tudor Grange in Solihull.

That is one of many coaching and assistant coaching courses being run throughout the region in a bid to grow the diving workforce and increase opportunities for young divers.

Barrow, a two-time European champion and Commonwealth medallist, said: “It was great to see the West Midlands represented on the national stage in London.

“We are making great progress in the region ahead of Birmingham 2022 and it has been very encouraging to see the interest and passion of those who have already taken our coaching courses.

“Hopefully over the next decade, we will see many more youngsters, like Eilidh, competing for the West Midlands.”

Visit the Institute of Swimming website to find a diving course near you.