In Too Deep

May 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

by Alicia Simpson and Melissa Steel for SurGE Magazine

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With our legs dangling dangerously over the 10 metre drop, we cannot help but wonder just what we have got ourselves into…

We began our training session just half an hour earlier with the vital assistance of trained coach, Charlotte Dunn. She tells us it takes almost ten years to get to Commonwealth Games level, but we find ourselves teetering nervously on the poolside, preparing to make our first splash after just 10 minutes.

surGE writers Alicia Simpson & Melissa Steel (L - R), prepare to take the plunge.

Charlotte begins by taking us through some ‘basic’ exercises, but after a simple tuck jump turns into a tsunami-esque cannonball, things are not looking up. It isn’t a total disaster, however, and our initial flirtations with the one metre springboard result in some almost passable dives.

Even with the assistance of foaming, Jacuzzi-like bubbles to cushion our landing, the fall from on high still results in a gag inducing lungful of chlorine and a seriously bruised ego. But the ever-optimistic Charlotte encourages us onwards, with eager applause and a perky cheer of “Awesome!”. We try to ignore the glint of fear in her eye, or is that simply a rogue splash from our clumsy landing?

After around 20 minutes, we begin to relax a little. The previously anticipated super-competitive atmosphere has been quashed by apologetic bouts of laughter and a growing sense of cautious (and probably unfounded) confidence.

The CommonWealth Diving Pool.

Up to the five-metre board we go, carrying a spring in our step that quickly turns to a dramatic slip on the wet stairs. At the edge of the board, chronic vertigo kicks in, but the show must go on.

As it turns out, it takes much longer than expected to fall five metres. Our lives begin flashing before our eyes before we crash into the depths below.

We both resurface with the grace of an inebriated manatee dragging itself to shore. We manage to clamber out, just in time to witness the pros showing us how it’s done. Communicating with Charlotte – in a seemingly foreign tongue – they discuss their plan of action. Soon they are effortlessly somersaulting into the water and it brings home just how much skill and practice it takes to become a great diver.

The final salute.

But this does not put us off tackling the ten-metre diving board: we tiptoe to the edge and tentatively hold the handrail. We summon all our courage, assume the plunge position, take a deep breath, and … walk back down the stairs.

It’s been a challenging yet fulfilling experience, which has definitely given us a taste of the discipline required by Commonwealth divers. But, for today anyway, we will leave it to the professionals!

Mission: Complete... Well, near enough for today.


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