DACORUM Dive Club enjoyed success on the national stage this week as they competed in the 2012 British Diving National Skills Final in Southampton.
The club – based at Hemel Hempstead Sportspace – picked up a gold and a bronze medal in the competition which featured divers from all the best clubs in the country, including Crystal Palace, Southend, Southampton and Leeds.
Matthew Riley bagged the gold medal in the boys’ 10 and 11-year-olds’ age group, while Danielle Plumb took bronze in the girls’ 12-year-olds’ category.
Matthew saw off competition from 38 divers, while Danielle was competing in a field of 27.
The categories consisted of 12 parts – two of these being picked by the divers and the other 10 being set skills.
Matthew opted to carry out a forward 1 1/2 pike and a back dive pike, and he wowed the judges to take the gold.
It was a particularly remarkable feat, given the fact that Dacorum Dive Club is coached by a part-time, volunteer staff, while the other clubs boast full-time, professional coaches and state-of-the-art facilities.
Matthew’s coach Chris White was understandably proud of the youngster’s display and praised his effort.
“I’m over the moon,” said Chris. “I couldn’t believe how well he did. It just shows that the hard work he had put in really paid off.
“I wasn’t surprised at how well he dived but I couldn’t believe how we surpassed all these professional clubs.”
Matthew will now begin training for the regional age group competition, which takes place in Southend later this month.
“We will now be working on his dives instead of skills over the next few weeks,” said Chris.
“The future looks bright for Matthew and hopefully he will continue to be enthused by diving and keep up the hard work.”