SDA Officially has talent.
The 2018 Talent Games was held in Leeds,and was attended by over 50 young divers aged 11 years and under from diving clubs all across England & Scotland. The games are organised by the Swim England Talent programme each year, the purpose being to identify potential future diving champions. At the end of the weekend a handful of divers will be selected to join the England Diving Programme Zone Squad.
This year, Southampton Diving Academy selected 11 divers, 6 girls and 5 boys, to undertake a tough weekend of physical testing and diving. The divers selected from SDA were, Natalie Barr, Hana Cheung, Imogen Fitzsimmons, Luke Hardy, Elizabeth Hart, Reuben Havenga, Euan Powell, Evie Tierney, Megan Thorpe, Malachy Walsh and Oliver Wignall. They spent a tough weekend in Leeds with coaches Mollie James and Brandon Foster and will no doubt have taken a great deal from the experience.
The first day of the games is devoted to physical testing; the divers had to demonstrate their strength, flexibility and stamina in a variety of different disciplines including speed tests, strength testing including chin ups, pike holds, pike ups, v-sits and arm stand holds amongst other things, and a gymnastics based floor routine. The SDA showed determination and perseverance, with all giving maximum effort with plenty of vocal support from team mates and families.
On the second day the children moved into the pool to demonstrate their diving skills for the judges, with all divers doing the same 12 dives, 4 each on the 1m & 3m springboards and 5m platform. The 8 highest scoring divers on each board progressed to a knockout round until there was only 1 diver remaining. Oliver Wignall made it through to two of these finals, a huge achievement given the standard of the competition.
After a long day of diving the gym testing and pool results were finally released and Oliver Wignall stormed to victory in the Boys group, coming 2nd in the physical testing and 4th in the pool which gave him the Gold medal overall and saw him crowned as the 2018 Talent Games Champion.
The entire SDA team did an amazing job and tried their very best against some of the best young divers in the country. For most of the team this was their first time competing at the Talent Games and they did SDA proud. Mollie James the SDA coach said “Our divers performed to expectations and were mixing with some of the nation’s most talented divers. It was a great experience for all involved!”
The club were delighted to find out that Oliver Wignall has subsequently been invited to join the England Talent Programme Zone Squad as a result of his performance at the Talent Games. This is an 18 month programme of 6 away camps which is
designed to nurture these talented divers and to prepare them for elite competition.
Past SDA Talent Games Champions have gone on to represent their country and are currently flying high in the Junior Elite diving world, so we have high hopes for a great future for Oliver.
SDA Officially has talent.