It’s a life of Riley for top youngster Matthew as he stars at the nationals

Matthew Riley took top spot on the podium
Matthew Riley took top spot on the podium

A youngster from Dacorum Diving Club has bagged a hat-trick of medals at the National Age Groups Diving Championships in Sheffield.

Year 7 Longdean School pupil Matthew Riley took top spot on platform (5m and 7.5m) with a new personal best, before finishing third in the 3m event and winning the 1m competition with another PB.

The highlight of the day saw Matthew pull off a stunning inward 2.5 somersault with tuck from the 7.5m platform for his final dive.

Matthew is now Boys’ C National Age Groups Champion on the platform and 1m springboard. He was also the only Boys’ C competitor to medal in all three events.

The championships are the top level of diving competition in England – the next level up being British Elite Juniors and British Senior Nationals.

This year’s event attracted the largest entry in the history of the event with nearly 200 divers battling it out for medals across four age groups at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre.

Along with Matthew, Dacorum Diving Club – whose members train at Sportspace Hemel – entered four boys in the competition.

Harrison Mills, Samuel Rudd and David Wall were also in action, alongside Millie Land, Briar Snelling, Leah Bell and Danielle Plumb.

Six of the club’s divers achieved PB scores in each of the events they entered.

Briar came seventh in the Group C girls’ 1m springboard and fifth in the Group C platform events, but unfortunately had to pull out of the 3m event due to injury.

Harrison was fourth in the boys’ 8-13 years 1m synchronised diving event with his partner Matthew, before finishing 12th, 13th and 14th in the Group C boys’ 1m springboard, 3m springboard and platform events, respectively.

Matthew is the only child in the history of Dacorum Diving Club to have been crowned National Champion in both National Skills (2012) and National Age Groups (2014).

He will now be training towards next year’s Junior Elite competitions.

Matthew has very recently changed coaches but his long-term coach, Chris White, said: “Matt works very hard on his diving and is passionate to be the best – it is very pleasing to see him reaping the rewards of all his hard work”.

Dacorum Diving Club head coach Roger Page added: “We are very proud of all of our divers – this was a very good team result as well as an excellent individual one for Matthew.

“We are a local community sports club run entirely by volunteers so to be competing with top professional clubs across the country and doing well is a great achievement.

“This is, therefore, a great opportunity for me to thank all of our parents, committee members, club officials and coaches for all of their effort, time and dedication.”

For more information on Dacorum Diving Club or to enquire about joining, please visit www.dacorumdiving.org.uk