In 1992, Andy Banks (along with his mentor Peter Squires) opened up Plymouth City Sports – with a goal to offer the sport of diving to as many people as possible and to nurture whatever talent came along toward the international stage. This was after Andy, in 1988 had successfully set up the UK’s first full-time professional diving programme in Bradford.
Over the years the club has grown and prior to the covid pandemic had in the region of 100 competitive divers supported by an enthusiastic coaching team. In 2012 the club moved from Central Park Pool to the state of the art Plymouth Life Centre. The diving pool itself is of international standard and offers a moveable floor so it can also be used as a standard pool. There is furthermore a bubble machine which reduces the surface tension of the water for divers performing new dives in training.
Plymouth Diving is the competitive arm of the Plymouth Active Leisure Diving Training Scheme. The training scheme is designed to offer the sport of diving to anyone who is interested from the age of 5 up. Through a series of beginners’ courses talented youngsters are afforded the opportunity of entering the more advanced training squads, where the emphasis is placed on personal achievement, excellence, competitive success and enjoyment. There is also space within the scheme for enthusiastic divers who wish to pursue the sport recreationally, without the pressure of competitive involvement.
We provide opportunities for everyone to get involved; either through the activity itself or as a volunteer to help run events. Several parent members have got involved with scoring and 3 of its events team acted as officials at the London 2012 Olympics in recording and announcing roles – one of whom also worked at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Former members of the club include Olympians; Tom Daley, Dan Goodfellow, Sarah Barrow and Tonia Coach. Sally Freeman is one of our most experienced coaches and competed in the Sydney Olympics in 2000. The club also boasts current International divers and a Red Bull Cliff Diving champion.
In May 2017, after more than 30 years of dedicated coaching in Britain, Andy announced his decision to leave Plymouth to accept the role as National Coach to the Australian team in Melbourne. This was a great loss to the club and left a very big hole to fill. Later in 2017, Alex Rochas was appointed as Head Coach to Plymouth Diving and proved himself to be a passionate and motivated replacement for Andy.
In March 2020 the world was hit by the covid pandemic. On 23rd June 2020 Plymouth Diving suffered another devastating blow when we learnt the news that the Plymouth Life Centre would be shut until April 2021 for repair work. The diving pool took longer than originally anticipated to repair and re-opened on 6th September 2021. During this period of time Alex temporarily relocated to London with his divers Matthew Dixon and Emily Martin so that they could continue to train. Sadly Alex, Matthew and Emily decided not return to Plymouth and the club is currently without a Head Coach.
During the closure of the diving pool, Plymouth Diving rallied together with every member and parent believing that we owed it to our divers to continue to facilitate their training, in whatever way we could. Southampton Diving Academy agreed to let our Elite Divers train at their pool. Everyone Active and Plymouth City Council collaborated together and arranged dryland training at Ivybridge Tennis Centre and helped to fund diving trips to Poole (Dolphin) Leisure Centre. Balfour Beatty, Devonport Royal Dockyard Sport and Social Club also contributed financially along with kind donations from the public. We are grateful to everyone who made it possible for the divers to continue diving during this difficult period, without their support it would not have been possible.
The club is constantly striving to improve and offer the best it can to up and coming divers wishing to participate in the sport.