A thirty strong team of Plymouth divers spent four days of their half term competing in the Pilkington Estates Armada Cup held at the Plymouth Life Centre. In its 24th year it was a chance for the eighteen contending teams to showcase the talent each club has on offer. The event attracted teams from throughout the UK and as far flung as Dubai. The competition was split into two sections – Junior Elite and Age Group with South West Regional medals also up for grabs for the Age Group divers.
Seth Greentree our youngest and only Age Group D diver entered all three boards. Finishing fifth in the platform preliminary where he made a massive improvement on his previous best score, finishing fourth in the final. The 1m and 3m final resulted in two bronze medals. With a further three gold South West medals to his credit this was a very fruitful competition.
Alice Jones and Teagan Mousley represented the girls Group C Age Group divers. Alice broke her arm in two places at the end of October last year which severely hampered her training. Despite this Alice was determined to compete on 1m and 3m producing some solid dives. Teagan’s best result was on 3m where she finished in seventh position, missing out on the final by a mere 1.55 points. The duo paired up for the 1m synchro and in total scooped two gold, two silver and one bronze South West medals between them.
The Group C Age Group boys included Charlie Clinick, Isaac Ide and Harry Westbury. Charlie improved on his previous best springboard scores and took to the platform for the first time in competition. Isaac had a particularly good result on platform pulling off higher tariff dives and showed signs of steady progress. Harry had an all-round great competition winning a bronze on 3m. His best board was the 1m where he won a silver synchro with Charlie and an individual medal, coupled with three gold South West medals. Charlie and Isaac shared the remaining South West silver and bronze medals between them.
The Age Group B girls had their work cut out due to the amount of contenders they were up against. Eva Lang was impressive on 1m finishing ninth out of thirty. Poppy Jones was the highest placed Plymouth diver on 3m finishing tenth out of twenty-seven, closely followed by Martha Ticehurst and Evie Royal with limited competition experience. On platform Ava Cowper finished a very respectful ninth place out of twenty-six, performing a particularly neat 612C dive. Poppy and Eva also put in a credible platform performance finishing within eight points of Ava. All the girls won at least one South West medal.
The Age Group B boys also did themselves proud. After winning his group at National Skills in 2023 Alex Jones entered his first age group competition which is a huge transition. He made a valiant effort and dealt with the occasion admirably setting a set of scores to build on. Oscar Westbury, Louie McCue and Will Heath all reached the necessary qualification scores to compete in June at the National Age Group finals. Will won the preliminary platform round with Louie in fifth. Upping his game Louie finished the final in fourth. Will was not prepared to budge from the top spot and after a very close and exciting round of dives he topped the podium to win gold alongside his three South West gold medals with Oscar and Louie seizing the rest.
All of the Age Group A girls made a final. Rose McCabe qualified for the 3m final in sixth position, pushing team mate Maddie Elliott into seventh position. Cheered on by her team mates Rose went into the final with a determined spirit to finish fifth. Maddie also finished fifth in the 1m final. Both Maddie and Erin Healey gave incredible performances on platform which resulted in a deserved silver medal for Erin and gold for Maddie. The eight South West medals were shared amongst the three.
New to the elite category this was an important competition for Isla Applin our youngest Junior Elite C diver. In the process of gaining valuable experience Isla qualified to take part in the Junior Elite Championships this coming April.
Noah Underwood in the Junior Elite B section had a very successful few days. Fifth on 1m, a bronze for 3mand a further bronze for platform after giving the crowd a nail biting finish. A great start to his new elite journey.
Lexi Davies and Taluya Verwoolde competed in the Junior Elite B girls, a step up for both girls to try and gain qualifying scores for the Junior Elite Championships. Both fared well against tough opposition. Taluya recently moved to Plymouth and this was her first major competition since settling in. Lexi was on track to make the 1m final with a fabulous opening 401B dive. All was going well until the final dive which resulted in an eighth place finish, followed by Taluya in ninth. Lexi just missing out on the 3m final in seventh.
The expectation for the Group A Junior Elite girls to do well did not disappoint. All of them have now qualified for the Junior Elite Championships. Scarlett Colbourne finished in the top half of the 1m, 3m and synchro event with partner Lexi. Ellie Pearce finished in seventh just missing out on the springboard finals by the slimmest of margins. Not to be outdone by her brother, Amelie Underwood won a silver medal on 1m and a bronze on 3m with a silver synchro alongside her partner Caitlyn Costner from Dive London. Katie Martin and Maia Pearson are seasoned synchro partners with a proven track record. Once again they wowed the audience to win the gold. Maia also achieved great results with two individual finals and a silver 3m medal for Katie.
The Group A Junior Elite boys produced some inspiring dives. Theo Stevens’ best performance was on 3m. He unfortunately missed out on the final in eighth place. Ollie Heath and Archie Waines went on to give the crowd a display of diving at its best in the 3m final. With fewer points carried over from the preliminary round Archie had ground to make up. Undeterred he ploughed on and gave a steady but proficient performance to claw back points and win the bronze medal. Ollie’s final dive a 5335D whilst beautiful was not enough to put him in a medal position, just missing out in fourth. On the opening day of the Armada Cup Ollie had already put claim to the bronze 1m medal where he fought hard to regain points in the final and put himself in contention for a medal. Archie finished fifth on 1m.
Jon Pilkington made it possible for Plymouth Diving to host an event of this size. His generous sponsorship is invaluable for which we are truly grateful for.
Plymouth Diving would like to thank Outland Road Morrisons, Friary Mill Bakery and Fruity Roots who contributed towards the refreshments for the volunteers and officials. Plymouth Active Leisure for the use of the Life Centre facilities and Plymouth City Council for their continued support. The divers and parents would also like to show their appreciation to the dedicated coaching staff, judges and volunteers.