Southampton Diving Academy – 6th Croatian Open Championship July 2017
Coaches Jack Clewlow and Matt Roberts took 15 of our Southampton Age Group and Elite divers to Rijeka, Croatia to compete in the 6th Croatian Open Diving Championships against divers from clubs all over Europe.
SDA have never been to this meet before and we had plenty of challenges to overcome. Firstly our first sight of the pool was only an hour before our synchro pairs competed, secondly 4 of our 6 synchro pairs had never dived together before, even in training, and thirdly it was hot, hot, hot. But SDA divers are made of tough stuff and embrace challenges like this.
Our recently crowned National Age Group synchro champs Nathan Bull and Oliver Cazaly took a silver in Boys 3m 10 to 13 years, with untested pairings of Lucy Hawkins & Evie Johnson and Ashley Burnard & Alex Walton taking bronze in their events in 14+ years.
In the individual events, Boys 12/13 years Leon Baker made a very welcome and timely return to form, taking gold on both the platform and 3m springboard and silver on the 1m springboard against some strong Italian and UK opponents. All 4 of our boys in this category made the top 10 on the Platform with Milo French in 4th, Ollie Cazaly in 7th and Nathan Bull in 8th. Milo and Ollie also placing 5th and 6th respectively on the 3m, and Milo and Nathan 4th and 5th respectively on the 1m.
In Girls 12/13 years our trio were just pipped to the podium in the Platform event, Milly Batten, Dulcie Wilson and Maya Kutty finishing in 4th, 5th and 6th respectively. Maya made the top 10 in all 3 events, with a 10th place on the 3m and a 7th on the 1m.
Boys 14/15 years was a tight group, Alex Walton took medals on all 3 boards, bronze on 1m and Platform and silver on the 3m with some determined diving. Ashley Burnard dived really well on the platform to take 5th place with his degree of difficulty being noticeably lower than the rest of the field (raw scores would have seen him in the silver medal position).
Girls 14/15 years had a mixed meet, Evie Johnson made the top 10 in all 3 events, improving with each day and against some strong competition from Crystal Palace and Sweden as well as home grown Croatian talent. She finished 7th on the 1m, 6th on the 3m and 5th on the Platform. Sofia Sathio finished a creditable 9th on the Platform again with a lower degree of difficulty than many of the other girls.
Lucy Hawkins, our only diver in Girls 16+ years also got better each day, 7th on the 1m, 5th on the 3m and was so very close to silver on the Platform but suffered a restart on her usually mega reliable armstand and finished 4th by 0.35 points. She took it with such good grace and was a great example to the younger divers.
Bryn James was our only diver in Boys 10/11 years and came so close to the podium with 4th place in both the 1m and 3m and 5th place on the platform, a great experience for the youngest member of the team.
Coach Matt Roberts said “It was good for the divers to get some more experience of diving in an outdoor environment, and the team as a whole brought back some really good results. Divers conducted themselves very well through the week and it was good to see them being very supportive of each other and well behaved throughout. Overall this was a very enjoyable trip and would be good for SDA to compete again in the future.