The Southampton Diving Academy had a record thirteen divers achieving the high standard required to compete at the 2017 British Elite Junior Diving Championship held in Plymouth in mid-April.
This prestigious competition is the pinnacle of the Junior Elite Diving calendar, bringing together the best Junior divers from across the UK, and not only serves to find our National Elite Junior Champions, but more importantly it is the event used to select our Junior International teams.
Accompanied by Head Coach Lindsey Fraser and Senior Development Coach Jack Clewlow, the 13 young Southampton based divers competed in synchro and individual competitions over a gruelling 5 day event and achieved phenomenal record breaking results.
In the spectacular synchro competition held on the first day, SDA made an early significant impact on the competition, with the pairing of Robbie Lee and Milo French winning SDA’s first gold medal of the event on the 3 metre springboard in the 13 years and under category. In the same competition, Ethan Bennett and Leon Baker also claimed their place on the podium with a bronze medal. Angus Kerr and Brandon Foster competed in the same event for boys 14 – 18 years, achieving a silver medal, with Thomas Bailey and Cameron Gammage joining them on the podium to receive their bronze medal.
In the platform synchro event, the age groups is 18 & under, and the Lee/French pairing pushed their older opponents hard and were delighted to come away with the silver, their second medal of the afternoon, beaten by the pairing of Foster and his Sheffield based partner Owen Harrison.
With only one Southampton team entering the girls platform event, Tanya Watson and Lucy Hawkins were on good form performing some extremely challenging dives from the 10 metre platform and earned themselves a silver medal. Overall Southampton Diving Academy boasted a massive total of 13 synchro medals from the 1st day of the event, setting themselves up for a tremendous competition.
Over the next 3 days, the divers moved on to their individual events and continued to impress the judges and coaches with their high standard of diving, their consistency and their positive approach. In the hard fought preliminary rounds, where the divers needed to produce consistent high scoring dives over in order to make the top 6 placings who carry on to the finals, 11 of our Southampton divers earned a place in a total of 16 finals, with 5 Southampton divers going on to take podium places, winning 8 individual medals, including one of the SDA divers being crowned National Champion.
Tanya took a well deserved bronze medal in the girls 14-18 Platform event. Max Cott, in the equivalent boys event, also won a bronze medal, competing in his last ever Junior Elite competition in a very strong field which included International divers. In the same platform competition, Brandon also earned his spot in the final with some huge scoring dives and went on to secure 5th position.
In the girls 16-18 years 3 metre springboard event, Lucy and Tanya needed massive scores on their final dives to earn their places in the finals, with Lucy going on to achieve a 5th place finish, sadly Tanya had to withdraw due to injury.
In the boys 16-18 years 1 metre springboard event, Thomas secured his place in the final, finishing in 4th position against strong opposition.
In the girls 14-15 platform event, Evelyna Johnson made the finals in 3rd place with a superb back 2.5 somersaults from the 7.5m, going on to finish in a creditable 5th place against a tough field of competition. In the same event for the boys Angus also made the platform finals, also achieving a very creditable 5th place, both Evelyna and Angus were competing in their first year of this 2 year age group.
Over on the springboard in boys 14-15 years, Cameron Gammage won the preliminaries on 1 metre springboard, with some excellent diving, and also earned a spot in the 3 metre springboard finals, showing nerves of steel, and went on to secure bronze medals in both of those events.
In the youngest age category, boys 9-13, Milo made the finals on all 3 boards, the only boy in that age category to do so, with Robbie joining him for the platform and 3 metre springboard finals and Leon joining them both for the platform final. Our 4th boy in this age group was Ethan Bennett who achieved an incredible personal best on 3m springboard, to finish in an agonising 7th place.
This is an extremely competitive group of boys, who showed tremendous confidence and potential, with a string of results which bode well for SDA on the National and International stage in the future. Our young boys achieved the first 9’s of the whole competition during the platform preliminaries, demonstrating their fantastic diving quality, and exciting diving. Leon achieved a 5th place finish in his platform final, scoring some personal best scores for many of his dives. Robbie also produced personal best scores to achieve a bronze medal in the platform final and a silver medal on the springboard. And Milo, Southampton’s youngest diver in the squad aged just 11, excelled in his 1st Junior Elites competition, placing 6th in the 3m springboard final, winning a bronze medal in the 1 metre springboard final and a gold medal on the platform, earning himself the title of 2017 National Junior Elite Platform Champion.
The competition was a huge success for the entire team and maintained Southampton Diving Academy’s position as a team to be reckoned with on the National diving scene.
Coach Jack said “I was delighted the performances of the team over the course of the week. The quality results reflect the depth within the Southampton Diving Programme due to the hard work that our divers put in day in and day out.
Boys C 9-13 years:
Leon Baker : 1m 9th, 3m 14th, Platform 5th
Ethan Bennett : 1m 10th, 3m 7th, Platform 19th
Milo French 1m 3rd, 3m, 6th, Platform 1st
Robbie Lee : 1m 12th, 3m 2nd, Platform 3rd
Boys B 14/15 years
Cameron Gammage : 1m 3rd, 3m 3rd
Angus Kerr : 1m 12th, 3m 11th, Platform 5th
Girls B 14/15 years
Evelyna Johnson : 1m 9th, 3m 8th, Platform 5th
Boys A 16-18 years
Thomas Bailey : 1m 4th, 3m 9th, Platform 7th
Max Cott : Platform 3rd
Brandon Foster : 3m 11th, Platform 5th
Girls A 16-18 years
Lucy Hawkins : 1m 9th, 3m 5th, Platform 11th
Emily Martin : Platform 8th
Tanya Watson : 3m 6th, Platform 3rd