Whilst their diving pit has been closed for a two month refurbishment programme, 5 of Southampton’s Elite divers have been travelling around the south of England grabbing crucial training hours, having been selected to represent Team GB in 3 events across Europe.
In April, Robbie Lee, Cameron Gammage and Leon Baker were selected for the Dresden Youth 2019 meet, a tough and busy event where young divers from across the world come to test out their skills.
After an outstanding preliminary round scoring a PB, Robbie progressed to the final in 1stplace in the Boys 14/15 years Platform event, only to concede two places to a strong Russian and fellow Brit Euan McCabe, but he came home with a Bronze medal and a wealth of experience to build on.
Leon Baker suffered a nasty injury during the warm up for the Boys 1m 14/15 Springboard and competed with his foot and ankle swollen and heavily bandaged, he still made the final though, which was an achievement in itself, finishing in 7thplace and only 10 points off a medal. He also made the final for the 3m and finished in 6thplace overall.
Cameron Gammage also made finals in both of his events, Boys 16/18 1m and 3m Springboard, finishing 4thon the 3m and 7thon the 1m with some consistent diving against a strong field.
Two months later, 5 Southampton divers were on their way to Kazan, Russia, having been selected to represent GB at the 2019 European Junior Championships. They constituted a fifth of the GB squad, a huge achievement for SDA.
Cameron and Leon were selected again alongside Nathan Bull and Milo French – both making their debut’s for GB at this prestigious meet. Emily Martin who is currently training in Plymouth, joined them too.
Milo, 14, suffered an injury to his foot whilst training but qualified for the finals in 5thplace in Boys 14/15 Platform against some very strong Russian, Ukranian, German and Italian boys doing some difficult dives. He performed two of his four final dives beautifully but slipped out of medal contention with an error on his front 3.5 somersault pike to finish an agonising 4th. No room for mistakes at this level, but plenty of experience gained and some fire in his belly for next time.
Leon, 14, and Nathan, 14, were both competing in Boys 14/15 1m and 3m Springboard, and both GB boys made finals in both events, however against a strong pair of Italians making the podium was always going to be a challenge. Neither of the Brits made significant mistakes, but they weren’t quite as sharp as we know they can be, and at this level those little details cost places. Leon finished in that difficult 4thplace on the 1m and 7thon the 3m, with Nathan in 8thon the 3m, and 7thon the 1m.
Cameron, 17, had a great opening day as he was selected to take part in the team event and won a silver medal. Onto his individual events he held his nerve well to finish in 3rdplace in the prelims for Boys 16/18 3m, unfortunately he clipped his toes on the board during one of his final dives and slipped back to 10thoverall in the final, but still a great performance against some extremely strong Europeans. He made the finals on the 1m as well, finishing in 11th.
Southampton diver Emily Martin, 18, was very competitive with her new partner for this junior meet, of Andrea Spendolini-Siriex from Crystal Palace Diving Club. They took the gold medal in the Girls 16/18 Platform Synchro event. Great diving!
Tanya Watson, 18, was out in South Korea at the World Championships hoping to gain experience leading into the World Cup next year, where she hopes to win a spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games for Team Ireland. She just missed out on a semi-final spot, even though she performed an excellent inward 3.5 s/s in the tuck position, her new dive this season, and she gained a huge amount of experience from this to take forward to future qualifying meets. After a couple more weeks of training she flew out to Kiev, Ukraine to compete in the European Diving Championships, where she performed very steady dives to make the final and become the 10thbest diver in Europe.
Emily Martin was also competing in the European Diving Championships, in the synchronised platform event, with Phoebe Banks from Leeds, and they took a fantastic silver medal.
Gary Hunt was incredible in the World High Diving Championships, where he went into his last dive needing 10’s to win and scored 10’s – suberb!
Head Coach Lindsey Fraser, herself a judge out in South Korea said of her divers “I am thoroughly delighted with our International performances this year, which have been outstanding and I look forward to continued success in 2020.”