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Beneath The Surface Of Masters: Mark Woodward

The Masters Hub continues to look deeper into the lives and personalities at the heart of the UK Masters community through our ‘Beneath The Surface’ feature.

Look out for video interviews as well as some fantastic underwater photos courtesy of GB Swimstars.

Our fifth feature is with 57-year old green conference center manager Mark Woodward who learnt to dive after his son Freddie – who won Commonwealth bronze at Glasgow 2014 – was invited on to a talent identification programme…

How did you first become involved in Masters diving?

I started getting involved in my late 40s because of Freddie. I’ve always been a sportsman and was interested in finding out what he was going through in learning the skills associated with the sport.

How long did it take to master the basics of the sport?

Erm, master?! That’s an interesting concept – perhaps you should ask Freddie whether I’ve managed that yet! The truth is it’s very much a work in progress because I’ve found it incredibly hard.

I’ve never done anything gymnastic in my life so learning to make fast shapes to do somersaults and twists and so on and then be rigid hitting the water for lining up dives is incredibly challenging. But that’s where my pleasure has come in appreciating how brilliant the divers are that we see competing internationally and how fantastic their skill base is.

Are there many competitive opportunities in Masters diving?

Yes, quite a lot. I’ve competed once at an event in Edinburgh where I competed on the 1m board. I don’t compete regularly due to work and family commitments but I’m hoping to compete more though in a few years when the pressure of looking after the children reduces a bit.

How much do you train with your Masters club?

I train once a week for one hour. The squad train twice a week – it’s a time factor for me. I can’t manage that second hour. But I do other things to help me stay agile like cycling, running and football.

How do you spend your time when you aren’t diving?

Most of my time is spent running my business Green Directions which provides team building and meeting facilities at our 10 acre farm in Sheffield. I am also making our farm energy efficient and promoting sustainable living. I have four children and I also like playing the violin and playing football.

What do you love about diving?

The challenge of learning such technical skills of a new sport later in life.

What do you hate about diving?

The effect of pool chemicals on my skin.

What are you most proud of out of the water?

The renovation of our farm including installation of renewable technologies. Also, the achievements of my partner and children and my music.

  • Click here to find out how you can get involved with Masters swimming.