National Skills Finals 2017


Southampton Diving Academy claim two National Skills Champions.

The London Aquatic Centre was the venue for the 2017 National Skills Finals this summer. This is the biggest annual diving event at this level, with 299 divers taking part from across England and guest divers from Scotland, Dubai and Ireland all competing for the title of National Champion within their age range. Divers below the age of 14 compete over a total of 12 dives/jumps with four from each of the poolside, 1m and 3m springboard. Over the age of 14, the divers perform six dives each from the 1m and 3m springboard.

The SDA team consisted of 41 young divers, aged from 8 to 16, who gave first class performances to produce two National Champions, one silver and one bronze medalist over the weekend and a further 18 divers achieving top ten placings.

Megan Thorpe came close to a medal in Girls 8/9 Years, scoring a rare 9 for her forward tuck from the 3m to see her into 5th place. Ethan Pearce-Williams in Boys 8/9 Years was so consistent finishing just off the podium places in 4th, with team mate Euan Powell finishing in 9th having the difficult experience of a failed dive when he slipped off the 3m board scoring zero’s which may have put him out of medal contention, however gave him the opportunity to prove his ability to compose himself and fight back to within a couple of points of 8th place. Promising stuff from these youngsters in their first ever National competition.

In Girls 10 Years the battle was hard fought with 37 girls in the group. Anjali Kutty finished in 7th place but only 4 points off the bronze medal. In Boys 10 Years, James Nicholson scored straight 9’s for his poolside pike jump to see him into silver medal position, Reuben Havenga equally consistent in his  poolside work finishing in 4th with Luke Hardy and Oliver Wignall not far behind in 7th and 8th respectively, less than a point between them. Jamie Akerman in Boys 11 Years battled through to 7th place in a tough group with Ryan Spiteri coming in 10th; again Southampton’s neatness and good form on poolside showing through.

Our first gold came with Illan Stead in Boys 12 Years, with the poolside work scoring highly and consistent diving throughout, this was a close group with only 8 points between 1st and 4th seeing Bevan Woolley just miss out on bronze.

Not to be outdone by the boys, Emma Bolton stormed to gold in Girls 13 Years; our only diver in the category, Emma showed nerves of steel to fight off opposition from Sheffield and Southend with some really high scores across all of her dives. Jacob Smith in his swansong in Boys 13 Years came home with a bronze medal to end his diving career on, with team mates Isaac Beard and Kai Lanham in 5th and 6th, and Harris Oldroyd and Samuel Stevens in 8th and 9th all of our divers in this age category made the top 10.

Victoria Low was the best placed SDA diver in Girls 14+ Years finishing 7th in a tough group. Max Targett, Dylan Jewitt and Thomas MacFadyen all made the top ten in Boys 14+ after a long tense wait for their competition to start after a scoring system failure, finishing 6th, 8th and 10th respectively.

Many of these young divers have come through the programme’s “Talent Identification” scheme and their solid performances and great results perfectly illustrate the effectiveness of this initiative. The club is hopeful that the solid foundations set in these early stages will be a great platform to build on for the future.

SDA Diving Coach, Mollie James, was clearly pleased with the results “I was delighted with the performance of the Southampton divers. It demonstrates the high quality of diving that is going on at this level of the sport within our programme.”


Girls 8/9 years:
5th M Thorpe
Boys 8/9 years:
4th E Pearce-Williams, 9th  E Powell
Girls 10 years:
7th A Kutty, 17th M Boyes, 18th A Tompkins, 20th Ma Adamson, 21st I Fitzsimmons, 23rd O Szymczak
Boys 10 years:
2nd J Nicholson, 4th R Havenga, 7th L Hardy, 8th O Wignall, 13th D Brightwell
Girls 11 years:
19th M Groth, 20th D Rana, 27th E Jerrim
Boys 11 years:
7th J Akerman, 10th R Spiteri, 17th L Tegg, 20th L Richards, 21st T Gilson
Girls 12 years:
29th A Mpofu
Boys 12 years:
1st I Stead, 4th B Woolley, 12th S Rossiter
Girls 13 years:
1st E Bolton

Boys 13 years:

3rd J Smith, 5th I Beard, 6th K Lanham, 8th H Oldroyd, 9th S Stevens

Girls 14/16 years:

7th V Low, 11th I Bari, 12th A Davis, 19th K Mills

Boys 14/16 years:

6th M Targett, 8th D Jewitt, 10th T MacFadyen, 15th F McGregor, 16th H Lindsey