Aquatics

Plymouth’s Weymouth to compete in high diving event at World Champs in Budapest

OWEN WEYMOUTH will be joining fellow Plymothians Tonia Couch and Tom Daley in the Great Britain team for this summer’s World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

The 18-year-old will compete in the men’s high diving competition which will take place during the final three days of the championships (July 28-30) in Hungary.

He will become the youngest person to compete at World Championship level in men’s high diving, where competitors throw themselves off a 27-metre high structure.

Weymouth will be joined in the Great Britain team by defending champion Gary Hunt and Olympian and former European cliff diving champion Blake Aldridge.

The Plymouth youngster, who last year claimed victory at the WHDF International Cliff Diving Championships in Switzerland, is delighted with his call-up.

“It’s a pretty amazing feeling – pretty surreal,” he said.

High diving has been in the World Championships since 2013, but Budapest will be the first major competition to use a man-made tank for entry.

“They are going to hold the event outside the parliament building (in Batthyany Square),” said Weymouth. “It will be the first time they have used a water tank for the high divining event. The tank is going to be six metres deep and I think about 15m in radius.”

High diving has been growing in popularity over the last few years.

“Not that many people knew about it a few years ago, but after the World Championships in 2013 it has been making its way up and getting more on the scene. It could eventually be in the Olympics,” said Weymouth. 

“It would be the ultimate goal to go to the Olympics in high diving. That would be pretty special.”

Weymouth has been competing on the Red Bull Series. He made his debut last year at just 17 and will again compete in the series as a wildcard entry this year. 

“I’m the youngest ever to do the Red Bull Series and I will be the youngest to do the World Championships,” he said.

“The Red Bull Series is what inspired me and it’s pretty amazing to be part of that family. You get to go to really cool locations and they treat you really well. It’s just cool to be among people you looked up to. They are now in my group of friends.”

Weymouth, who won a number of national age group titles in the pool, still competes occasionally in indoor events, but says now he is concentrating on high diving.

“Most of my training is focussed on high diving,” he said. “I will do a couple of 10m events during the year just for a bit of fun, but my main focus is on high diving.”

He and his fellow Plymouth Diving team-mate Iris Schmidbauer, who will compete for Germany at the World Championships in Budapest, are able to train at a specially created platform at Adrenalin Quarry in Menheniot, as well as at the Life Centre.

“I am going down there (Adrenalin Quarry) two or three times a week. We are pretty lucky to have it,” he said.

“It has been absolutely massive for me from a confidence point of view.  I go down there on a weekly basis when most of the other guys are training in 10 metre pools.

“It has been one of the most beneficial things for me.”

Many people find just watching high diving scary, so is Weymouth every scared?

“Literally every time,” he admitted. “I think you would need to see a doctor if you weren’t scared.

“If you ask any of the guys, they’ll all say every time you go up there you are really scared.

“But you need to balance your fear. If you are not scared at all then you won’t have that focus and you might make a mistake and get injured, but if you are too scared then your brain starts to overwrite what it already knows and that can go wrong as well. It is about getting that balance and controlling your fear.”

Weymouth admits some locations are scarier than others.

“It looks high every time but there are some places that appear higher,” he said. “If you are on the biggest structure in sight then it seems higher. If there are bigger structures around you it does not seem quite that high.”

Weymouth might be the youngest diver on the men’s circuit, but he admits he gets plenty of support from fellow Brits Hunt and Aldridge, who are both in their 30s.

“They do help and they have been amazing,” he said. “They offer me good support and are always helping me out.”

Weymouth also get really good help, support and advice from Plymouth Diving’s Mexican coach Fito Gutierrez, who himself was a high diver.

The preliminary round of the men’s high diving event in Budapest will take place on Friday, July 28. The indoor diving takes place between July 14 and July 22.

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