Aquatics

Plymouth divers will be hoping to impress as British Championships return to the Life Centre

PLYMOUTH divers will be hoping to shine in their home pool this weekend when they take on the country’s best at the British Championships.

The nationals are once again returning to the Life Centre, with Plymouth-born world platform champion Tom Daley among the star names taking part.

However, seven of Plymouth Diving’s top prospects will also be competing, including international medal winners Matthew Dixon, Aidan Heslop and Victoria Vincent.

European junior medallists Dixon and Heslop will be going up against world champion Daley in the men’s individual and synchro platform events. Heslop, who on Thursday was confirmed in Wales’ squad for the April’s Commonwealth Games, will also compete in the three-metre springboard event.

Vincent, meanwhile, will be hoping to put a frustrating few years behind her. The Plymouth College pupil made a name for herself in 2014 when she won the British platform title as a 13-year-old and competed at that year’s Commonwealth Games. However, after that she needed an eye operation, which ruled her out for a long time. She did win a European junior individual platform title in 2016, but is now concentrating on the springboard events.

Vincent is entered in the women’s one-metre and three-metre competitions.

Also in action this weekend will be Great Britain junior international Alfie Brown, whose impressive versatility will see him compete in the men’s one, three and 10m events. Alex Kostov, Kayleigh Sinclair and Euan McCabe will also be hitting the boards.

McCabe at just 12 years-old will be the youngest Plymouth competitor at the event, which starts on Friday and runs through to Sunday afternoon. He, like Daley, Heslop, Dixon and Brown, will compete in the men’s platform event on Sunday.

This weekend’s championships will be new Plymouth Diving head coach Alex Rochas’ first major competition since moving to Devon from France to replace the long-serving Andy Banks, who took up a top job in Australia.

Rochas said: “The Plymouth Life Centre facilities are amongst the best I have seen, but it is nothing without my team. We cannot achieve goals alone – you must trust and support your team.

“I’m confident the future is bright and I’m hopeful for this weekend but I’m taking a long-term view – I don’t want to exert undue pressure on my divers. We will be looking to get as many into finals as possible and then, we will see.”

Since opening in 2012 the Life Centre has hosted many of Britain’s top diving events.

Councillor Glenn Jordan, cabinet member for culture, said: “The British Diving Championships are an amazing showcase of skill and talent and we’re so proud to be hosting the event here in Britain’s Ocean City again. We can look forward to a weekend of fantastic diving displays.”

David Greenwood, Everyone Active’s contract manager, added: “We are delighted to be hosting this prestigious event once again and reaffirm the Life Centre’s position as one of the leading aquatic facilities in the country. It promises to be a fantastic weekend of sport and we are looking forward to welcoming so many brilliant athletes to the city.”

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