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Freddie Woodward and Jack Haslam share advice ahead of Level X commentary stint

Former international divers Freddie Woodward and Jack Haslam are both feeling ‘excited’ ahead of the Level X Diving Dryland Games – where they will be joining the event as commentators.

The live streamed event, which take place on Saturday 20 March at 6pm on the Swim England Facebook page, will showcase the top 10 point-scoring entries from each age group.

The Sheffield natives are both veterans of the sport and have remained a part of the diving community since their respective retirements in 2018 and 2019.

Woodward, a 2016 Olympian who also won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, said: “I think it’s great that [Swim England diving] have decided to put this event on.

“I’m excited because doing something right now which gives a little more purpose to what the athletes are trying to do at the minute is really important, so I’m just happy to be involved.

“It’s vital because things are so different now. I think we’ve got to do everything we can to keep people focused and this [event] will really help to engage people.”

Haslam – his former teammate and European Junior Championship bronze medallist – echoed his excitement, adding: “It has been a while since our young, talented divers last had a chance to have a bit of competition, so hopefully this is the start of the road back to that.”

Both athletes have experienced injury throughout their careers which forced them out of the water for long periods of time.

On this, Woodward said: “I have been in situations with injuries where I was unable to get in the water or maybe unable to do any training for certain periods of time.

“Similar to this situation, I was unable to get into the water for a year or six months on many occasions. That’s extremely difficult and it’s really hard for people but trusting in the process is important.”

Similarly, Haslam spent an extended time away from competitive activity.

He said: “The time they’ve had out of the pool can only really be compared to the time out that athletes may have for an injury.

“I didn’t compete for three years when I was a junior due to injury so I have a good idea of how hard [that time] can be and how hard it can be to come back.

“The mindset I tried to have during that time was to try and take the positives out of it and focus on the things you can do rather than what you can’t – in this case, maybe some of them want to work on their flexibility or do some extra conditioning.”

‘There will be a comeback’

Both Woodward and Haslam emphasised just how important it is to take advantage of the time spent out of the water ‘before things go back to how they were before’.

“There will be a comeback, things will go back to normal and I think everyone will surprise themselves at how quickly things do fall back into place”, said Woodward.

“This is an opportunity to do more things that you’ll have less time to do in the future. Focus on some dryland training work that might be overlooked when you’re back in the pool and this Level X competition is encouraging things like that.

“It would be great to look back on this time and say you made the most of it. Perhaps you improved on a certain dryland skill or set of conditioning exercises that previously you had really struggled with – there is an opportunity there.”

Speaking on the upcoming Level X Diving Dyland Games, Haslam said: “Being a good competitor, like everything else, needs practice.

“So, whether that is in the pool or not, any sort of competition practice can only be good to help you learn to show your best skills when it counts.”

Advice for young divers

Both Haslam and Woodward shared some advice for divers ahead of what will undoubtedly be an exciting return to the pool.

“Keep working hard with what you can do at home,” said Haslam. “It will all only help you improve when we can finally get back in the water.”

Woodward added: “Finding motivation might be difficult, but the cobwebs will be blown off. Everyone is going to be in the same position.

“There’s some confidence to be taken from that – you know that everyone is fighting a similar battle.

“You are stronger as a team and help each other out but you want to be one of those people that, despite being in the same position as everyone else, made the most of it and brought that commitment.

“Maybe also trying to help others as well – your energy can help lift your teammates. You are going to get back into the swing of things, people are in this together so take some solace from that.”

The multi-British Championship gold medallists are ‘looking forward’ to commentating and will be sharing even more insight and motivation on the day.

“Creativity in this time is really important to engage the athletes and hopefully everyone can take a lot away from this event”, said Freddie, “We hope you enjoyed doing the competition and hope you enjoy our coverage” added Jack.

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