Published - 6th September 2013
In his second blog about his preparations for Leeds Diving Club’s ‘Splat!’ competition, our Head of PR, Guy, channels his inner teenage girl and reveals he’s watched Jaws one too many times.
I’ve enjoyed, or should that be endured, three more diving lessons since my first blog and it’s fair to say that I’ve experienced more emotions than a teenage girl at a One Direction concert.
I played numerous sports when I was younger, such as football, rugby and tennis, as well as still playing squash on a regular basis, but I don’t ever remember any of them being as mentally challenging and gruelling as diving. The professionals make it look so effortless, serene and, frankly, beautiful and it’s impossible to imagine how it could possibly have gone as spectacularly wrong as it did for me at times over the past week.
That said, it has been enormous fun and the camaraderie between my fellow ‘splatters’ has been great, with divers receiving a warm round of applause for every well executed dive and a chorus of winces whenever one backfires horribly…it goes without saying that I haven’t received a round of applause yet!
So, after the triumphant first session where I left with a spring in my step I was brought back down to earth with a bump early in my second session with a full-on face plant into the water from a mere 1m, which brought about a headache and a severe bout of embarrassment. No sooner had I recovered from the ignominy of such a public display of incompetence, I was then struck down with a brutal case of cramp in my left calf, which had me flailing around in the water like an over-zealous reveller at the Hacienda in the late 80s.
Not to be deterred, I steamed up to the 5m board for a forward dive (well, it was more of a fall) and it’s amazing the things you’ll tell yourself to get out of doing the dive. Here’s a selection:
“Is that a shark down there? I’m sure that’s a shark. Nah, I’m not doing it.”
“I’m sure the bottom of the pool is rising to the surface. Nah, I’m not doing it.”
“Why has the water turned into a giant slab of concrete? Nah, I’m not doing it.”
As it turns out, the last point there wasn’t that far from the truth as I did get out of the water feeling like someone had crunched a giant slab of concrete over my shoulders and neck.
One of the areas I’ve been struggling with in particular is attempting to remember what my coach has told me to work on with each dive. I know she wants me to point my feet, squeeze my arms against my ears and push through the water with conviction, but as soon as I leave the board my brain just shuts down and all I can hear in my head as I plummet towards the water is a little girl’s scream. I should probably go and see a doctor about that…
Before my fourth lesson I had the opportunity to watch the next generation of divers, who were around seven and eight years old, which didn’t exactly leave me going into my session brimming with confidence. The fearless bunch were flinging themselves from the 10m board with carefree abandon and slipping through the water like bullets, which was in stark contrast to my attempt from that height, which resembled a man throwing himself from the deck of the sinking Titanic.
Despite discovering over the last two weeks that diving is quite possibly the least suitable sport on earth for a man like me, I’m going to keep persevering until that picture above becomes a reality!