Aaron Paul delighted with development of Cambridge Dive Team
Winter success of divers breeds confidence
Aaron Paul believes that Cambridge Dive Team competitors are on course for a successful year after promising performances in the first quarter of the campaign.
Frankie Webb won a silver medal with partner Amy Rollinson at the Armada Cup in February, while Elora Graham earned a bronze medal in the 1m springboard and Olivia Blower reached her final.
The club’s younger divers swept the board at the Cambridgeshire County Skills Diving Championships, and there were also some encouraging performances at the G-Star Inter Club Championships.
Blower then finished fifth in the 16 to 18 platform event at the British Junior Elite Championships, which acts as Great Britain’s selection event for the junior European and world championships.
“I think, as coaches, we’re in a nice position whereby we’ve had some really positive results to motivate us but it’s also really clear where the focus needs to be in the run up to nationals,” said Cambridge Dive Team chief coach Paul.
“We’re set to have even more divers qualify for the national skills championships this year than we did last year which is very important to us as a team.
“For those of our team who compete at the next level at the national age group championships we’ve got a really good feel for what the standard is like this year.
“For some of our divers this has meant learning more complex dives to try and push into medal contention. Overall, we’re exactly where I’d expect to be at this point in the season but one of the great things about diving is anything can happen.”
The successes and performances of Graham, Webb, Blower and the younger members of the squad mean a lot to a smaller club.
“We beat a few other bigger programmes in the medal table which is always nice to see,” said Paul.
“For us, it’s all about quality over quantity due to the fact that we are a smaller venue and therefore a smaller programme.
“Also to have Olivia [in a] final in a platform event when our pool doesn’t even have a 7.5m or 10m board really says a lot about her courage and drive to compete in that event.
“I think it’s also nice that the club has built a rich history over the years and now when a young diver is winning a county event, they’re winning an event that potentially was previously by won by someone who went on to be an Olympian.”
But it is not just about medals, the personal bests are equally as important to the coaching team and the divers.
“As a coach, a lot of the time I’m reminding divers that a PB is the most pleasing result,” said Paul. “We can’t really control where we rank in diving as we have no control over what other people do in their dives.
“All we can hope is that we’re continuing to improve and that as a result of that we will hopefully be in contention for medals.”
As for the rest of the year, the club’s skills divers will be heading to Bradford for the Shipley novices competition as a warm-up for the National Skills Championships in July.
The age group team head to the regional championships in Southend at the end of the month, and they will then go on to the National Age Group Championships in Sheffield at the end of June.