BEAUMONT DIVING ACADEMY
PRESIDENT’S REPORT 2016
With the outstanding performances recorded by the British divers at the Rio Olympics our sport has been promoted to a new level of excellence and prime time television. The euphoria generated by these Games reached beyond levels seen at any previous Olympics, including London 2012. Long may it continue. Against this background of a wave of applications from people wishing to learn to dive, the Academy fast approaches its 50-year anniversary.
The Academy made every effort to continue with its normal range of activities which is structured towards competing at all levels both at home and abroad. Astonishingly, it was thwarted at ground level by its very own County Association who in its wisdom decided to discontinue with the County Diving Championships.
These Championships, first instituted in 1935, are the most basic and vital ingredient in the development of a competitive diver and all our many previous national champions and former Olympians graduated from these Championships. They used the competitive experience as a springboard for greater things to come. We continue to campaign wherever possible to have the Championships reinstated.
The Beaumont Diving Academy has always supported Masters Diving as our role of honour will testify. Traditionally, Masters competitors get very little recognition so it is pleasing to report that at the European Masters Championships held at the London Olympic Pool our divers gained outstanding success. Life members and Olympians Hayley Sage and Alison Drake both came out of retirement to put in exceptional performances to gain double gold by winning their 1m and 3m springboard events. Jim McNally also gained a gold and silver and Barbara Heathfield won a silver against tough opposition. Peter Woodhams finished off the three-day tournament with a bronze medal in his age group from the 3m springboard.
Team selection for the Scottish Nationals and Thistle Trophy was very difficult this year due to the demise of the County Novice event. Regular attendance and form demonstrated in training became of paramount importance, with 17 divers and five team officials making the trip to Edinburgh. The team manager Chris Sage is to be congratulated on the organisation and meticulous attention to detail, particularly with reference to accommodation and rail travel.
All divers gained valuable experience and saw how other teams perform and act. William Miller deserves the highest praise in gaining our only podium finish with a silver medal. Special mention should also be made of Abigail Pickard who, at such a young age, volunteered for the responsibilities of Press Officer and published a detailed report on all of the Beaumont divers’ performances in the Welwyn and Hatfield Times.
With no local competition, our BDA Club Championships become more important for the learning how to compete and to train our officials. It was encouraging to see the emergence of new faces and the crowning of new champions. As already mentioned, these championships are the stepping stones for our future development. Emily Saunders and Liam Morrell Phillips are to be congratulated on winning four out of the six events, while Yana Tutt and Sam Beton won the junior and the senior 5m platform titles for the first time.
I am proud of the quality of our coaching staff who all give freely of their time to ensure that all our members have the finest tuition available. Chris Sage, in his final year of international judging due to the ridiculous and ageist FINA rule, added further to his illustrious pedigree by being selected by the World Governing Body to officiate as the British judge at the FINA World Diving Cup in Rio. He also took on the arduous task of Chief Referee at the British and National Diving Championships.
Alex Belson continues in her role as the County Diving Manager and the fight for justice over the County Diving Programme. But when Swimming, who have no understanding of our sport, can ignore the ethos of their own constitution it feels like we are fighting an armoured car with a bow and arrow. In her other role as the Club’s fixture secretary we are indebted both to her and to Mark Chicken for the electronic technical input in organising our club championships which have been so successful over these past twelve months.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank our chairman Mr Ben Roberts for his support and devotion over so many years. By his efforts, so many young people continue to enjoy our sport.
I would also like to thank our Hon. Secretary Karen Hales who unfortunately cannot be here tonight but has put in a lot of hours behind the scenes, not only as our Secretary, but also as the club welfare officer. I would like to thank all members of the committee for their support and, in particular, Kerstin Weiner for taking over the responsibility at such short notice of the role as the Hon. Treasurer and for the very hard work she has put in so that we may have a sound base financially to underpin our activities.
Finally, I would like to mention that I was honoured to accept an invitation to travel out to China to act as the assistant team manager for the Crystal Palace diving team that spent 14 days training in Beijing at their youth development centre and working alongside some of the finest young divers in the World. I am indebted to both the former Chinese and Great Britain Olympic Diving Coach, Chen Wen, and to the former World Champion and three-time British Olympian, Chris Snode, for their genuine friendship and the support given to me at all times that made this one of the most memorable experiences of my lifetime.
I finish with a quotation that I sent back to the Academy and had printed on our club T-shirts at the time when I was coaching our divers Frank Dufficy and Chris Walls at the Munich Olympic Games.
“Let it be known that
when grace and discipline
combine with courage
and are collectively pumped
by a heart full of desire
time to step forward.
Derek Beaumont, Munich 72
PRESIDENT’S REPORT 2014
This year has undoubtedly been the most difficult year in our history. For well over the past four decades this Academy has met many adversities with great courage and commitment. However, the closure of the three metre springboard and five metre platform through concrete fatigue placed this diving club with one of its greatest ever challenges.
The history of the Academy in producing eleven Olympians and having won every single individual national title is well documented and almost legendary. So I find it quite ironic and almost soul destroying that very little help or encouragement was offered to us in our desperate quest for survival. Fortunately at the eleventh hour, and at period of time when the Club felt it had no alternative than to go into liquidation, a resolution was finally reached and after a period of nine months without adequate training facilities the diving complex finally re-opened and the Academy endeavoured to pick up the remnants of destruction and re-establish it’s competition and diving development programme.
However a few months later a further obstacle was placed before us of equal proportion when during a routine maintenance contract all three springboards were condemned as no longer being fit for purpose. I have to report to the membership for the purpose of documentation that an instant decision was reached and on the same day all boards were renewed. Both the Council and the Academy purchased a board and a further board was sent to Germany for refurbishment.
Considering the limited opportunities the divers have had to practice their skills we have continued to be successful with our competition programme and our divers have all competed with distinction at all major events including the Swedish international meet in Lund and the Amsterdam Cup.
Outstanding results were gained at the ASA National Age Group Championships held in Sheffield with Lewis Irons gaining his first national title in the Boy’s Group B Highboard and finishing second in the 1 metre springboard event. Liam Morrell-Phillips excelled with a silver in the Boy’s 3 metre and a third place on the Highboard while Ben Carman, your club captain, captured a silver in the Boy’s Group A 1 metre springboard and then teamed up with Lewis to earn a well deserved bronze medal in the Senior Boy’s 3 metre springboard Synchro. A total of seven medals against the finest age group divers in the Country.
Greater emphasis was placed this year on the selection of our team to compete in the Scottish National Championships and Thistle Trophy Competition as it was felt highly desirable to include more younger members in our team to give them an opportunity to witness diving of a higher quality which they wouldn’t normally experience in their home environment. The largest ever contingent of sixteen divers and five team officials eventually made the trip to Edinburgh and were rewarded with five podium finishes, one silver and five bronze medals for their efforts against nationally ranked opposition.
The Academy also sent a small team of one diver and two officials to Dublin to compete in the Irish National Diving Championships and a further two bronze medals were gained. This event is gaining in popularity and stature and it is hoped to participate far more fully in this prestigious event in the future.
The Academy participated fully in the East Region Championship programme with both Ben Carman and Olivia Reeve winning gold medals. Particular mention should be made of the meritorious performance of Emily Saunders and Pamela Chicken who as juniors teamed up to win the Women’s 1 Metre Synchro title beating the highly ranked Cambridge duo by one tenth of a point.
Having been a county diving champion myself the Hertfordshire County Diving Championships are something that I hold very dear to my heart as I believe they are a natural stepping stone to the development of a future champion. This year the Academy won eleven out of the twelve individual titles and both Lewis Irons and Liam Morrell-Phillips were outstanding in winning their first ever county titles while Ben Carman was equally impressive in retaining his Men’s 3 Metre Spring board title. Olivia Reeve was complete dominant in the Ladies and Girl’s events winning all six titles to add to the five gained last year.
Academy coach and team manager Chris Sage continues to tread on the world stage of diving, fresh from his role at the London 2012 Olympics, he has since been selected by FINA the World Governing Body to officiate at this year’s World University Games and FINA World Championships.
Swim 21 still appears to occupy much of the Academy’s time and we are indebted to Nicole White for ensuring we still receive this valuable recognition from the Amateur Swimming Association. Swim 21 Accreditation is a ‘Quality mark’. It recognises nationally and regionally the clubs that are committed to providing safe, effective and quality services for the benefit of their members. It particularly evaluates the quality of the clubs * Teaching * Skill Development * Competitive Development and * Performance.
Former Olympian Marion Henthorn carried out several TID Taster sessions during the year but this is sometimes difficult to implement as we can’t always get all of the coaches to attend because of their commitments so we are always indebted to the number of divers that assist at the various testing stations. Talent Identification is important to the development of the Club but it also provides an opportunity for many more young people to join the Academy and provides valuable income.
Finally I do not wish to close without mentioning your Chairman Ben Robert’s, Ben has devoted almost his entire life to the development of this Club and to the aspirations of the many young people that have been part of it. Ben’s lifetime contribution to sport was finally recognised by the Herts Sport Partnership and at their Annual Service to Sports Awards held at the University of Hertfordshire when in a packed auditorium Ben was awarded the main honour of ‘Service to Sport for 2014’ and our many congratulations go out to him.
In the foyer to the main entrance to the Dublin International Swimming Pool etched on the wall is the following message to greet all athletes :- TO ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS, WE MUST NOT ONLY ACT BUT ALSO DREAM, NOT ONLY PLAN BUT ALSO BELIEVE.
ASA Eastern Region Coach of the Year 2014
ASA Aquaforce Coach of the Year 2014
BBC Eastern Regions Sport Unsung Hero 2014
Panshanger Golf Club March 26th, 2015