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Aberdeen Sports Village hunt for potential future diving stars with local talent search

Aberdeen's elite diving coach, Judy Wardlaw.
Aberdeen's elite diving coach, Judy Wardlaw.

Aberdeen Sports Village is hoping to find the next generation of young divers from the north-east in a virtual talent search.

ASV is working alongside Scottish Swimming and Swim England for the Diving Virtual Talent Search 2021 which hopes to recruit young divers of any ability.

The decision to go virtual comes after a pause in scouting programme Talent ID (TID) in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The virtual platform will be open to budding athletes aged 8-14 years old who can demonstrate their strength and flexibility via a simple video recording.

Judy Wardlaw is the elite diving coach at ASV and hopes that the virtual search will discover potential talent who will then join her at Aberdeen, the second largest diving club in Scotland.

The coach said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity, TID is something that we’ve done across the UK for many years and a lot of our Olympic team this year came through the TID process.

“It’s a chance for kids to get involved in a sport that they might not have otherwise thought about. It also gets more young ones involved on an elite pathway earlier so we can fast track that process from beginner to a higher level.

(L-R) Elite divers Noah Penman, 14, and Niamh Rogerson, 13 train at ASV

“The virtual search is great because we previously would have gone into primary schools and in the local area, but that is still restricted.  This way it’s opened up to anyone and it’s really easy to do at home as well.

“There’s no equipment required that you don’t already have in your home so hopefully that will reach a wider audience and get more local talent involved.

“We’ve grown the programme massively over the last five or six years and we want to continue to do that and get our divers into Team GB and higher level competitions.”

Aberdeen’s elite divers

Aberdeen divers Noah Penman, 14, and Niamh Rogerson, 13 came through the 2017 Talent ID programme and are already making a name for themselves in the sport.

Rogerson is currently on Team Z which is the first level of Team GB while Penman could potentially compete at the GB Junior Elite Championships next month.

The young athletes believe the Diving Virtual Talent Search is an opportunity that is too good to be missed for any young person with an interest in the sport.

Picture of (L-R) Noah Penman, 14, and Niamh Rogerson, 13.

Penman said: “I started from the TID programme and it’s got me here. It’s great because it helps people realise the opportunities there is in diving.

“The facilities at here at ASV are great because they have boards all the way from one metre to ten. It’s a great place to compete and having Niamh here as well helps because we try and compete against one another to get better.”

Rogerson agreed with her fellow diver as she said: “People should get involved in any opportunity they can in diving, and enjoy it.

The Sports Village is really good for divers like me and Noah. I hope that training here will help me progress to more difficult competitions and maybe one day even the Commonwealth Games.”

As well as the young Aberdeen divers, Talent ID has scouted some of the best British diving talent including Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley.

The deadline for registering is 10 October, with video submissions to be entered by 17 October. Children interested to sign up can find out more here – https://www.swimming.org/diving/diving-virtual-talent-search/  or email ASV – diving@aberdeensportsvillage.com

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