Positive outlook for Dan Murphy at Cambridge Dive Team
Club's professional coach aiming to inspire more success
With no sign of fear, young divers were contorting themselves in all sorts of shapes and angles before springing into the water beneath them.
Stood at the side of the pool was Dan Murphy, offering encouragement and guidance on what he had just witnessed.
There was a focus on the elite divers that did not diminish despite the hullabaloo around him – the interviews, the photographs, the Learn To Dive sessions.
That level of clarity and communication is a necessary skill for Murphy, with the dive pool below providing a certain obstacle when it comes to coaching.
“In diving, it can be very difficult to communicate your point,” he explains. “When you see them do something you need changing [such as body position], you can do demonstrations, get up pictures or videos and show what needs to be done and where they are.
“A lot of the stuff we do on the dry land we can get involved to show things like knee position, shoulder positions and bring them in and move them around. It’s a little bit harder in the pool, but the dry-land area you can correct and push into the kind of shape.
“It’s just making sure you communicate correctly how you want that transferred into the pool and the divers need to understand that as well, so hopefully things change.”
Those minor tweaks are a key component to Murphy’s role as professional coach at Cambridge Dive Team, where he looks after the national squad and some of the lower novice groups.
Despite being only 20, he has been coaching for six years. He started off helping with the basic level programmes as a volunteer for his sports leadership award, and went on to achieve his Level One coaching badge aged 16, and his Level Two aged 18.
It was at that point he stopped diving competitively – wanting to pursue his coaching – having taken up the sport 10 years previously after being picked out through talent ID sessions.
“I came along for the first couple of lessons and really enjoyed it,” said Murphy.
“It was something I really wanted to do. It was different, fun and I just fell in love with it when I started. I have loved it ever since.
“I dived from the age of eight to 18. I competed at national level alongside some of the people in the bigger events we have nowadays; and some Olympians and some of the other divers at elite level in the GB programme.”
Despite being only a 5m facility, Cambridge Dive Team have acted as a springboard to put some of those divers on their way to national success and, under his guidance, Murphy wants more to follow in those footsteps in the future.
“Coming from what we’ve had before in the past in terms of success like Dan Goodfellow, who is now an Olympic bronze medallist, we’ve had lots of other European divers and we’ve had a lot of success and I would like to see some more again; that’s what I would like to help,” he said.
“It’s the kind of push I’m looking for – I’m trying to help build some divers up to a higher standard and push for some really higher national medals.
“It’s very achievable within the club. It’s not going to happen overnight, it will take a while, but I think it’s a good club and for what facilities we have and where we’ve come from, it’s actually a very successful club.
“It’s looking positive for the future.”
And seeing the divers in his charge develop is one of the main motivations for Murphy.
“I like watching the youngsters go to events, do well, get personal bests, medals and it inspires me to see that I have helped them achieve what they wanted to achieve and grow and develop as an athlete,” he says.
“When they learn new dives, it’s good to see them being motivated and happy, and it gives me a good feeling inside to think I have helped make that and taught them. It’s a feelgood thing and very positive.”