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GB diving team at Garon Park boost take-up rate
DALEY-mania has hit Southend, with scores of people signing up for diving lessons in the wake of Tom’s training sessions in the town.
Team GB pin-up Tom Daley, 18, is inspiring the next generation of divers after training at the Southend Swimming and Diving Centre, in Garon Park.
Daley, his diving partner Pete Waterfield and women’s team Stacie Powell and Monique Gladding, used the centre as a training camp for the 10m platform finals at the Olympics.
The quartet are set to return to the diving centre today to take part in intensive training ahead of the individual Olympic events next Thursday and Saturday.
Their Games exploits are inspiring a new generation of pool plungers.
Kayleigh Webster-Salter, 17, of Eastwoodbury Crescent, Southend, said: “I am definitely more interested in diving because of Tom Daley. I really want him to win and he has done really well considering how young he is.
“I have been watching the Olympics every day – it is so exciting.”
Stacyann O’Brien, 31, of Belgrave Road, Eastwood, said: “We are so proud of the whole team. They work so hard and have performed brilliantly.
“I always take my niece and nephew swimming and Cyrus’s interest in the sport has peaked since the Olympics. He now wants diving lessons.
“Anything to promote health, fitness and sport is great.”
Damian Ball, head diving coach at the swim centre, said more residents had signed up for diving courses since Team GB’s arrival.
He said: “We are running a lot of summer courses for children to learn how to dive, and we are nearly fully-booked.
“We have three times the number of people signed up than last summer, but I think it is due to the selection of diving programmes as well as interest since the Olympics.
“To have the world’s biggest competition in this country is very exciting.”
Others are just proud to see Tom and his collegues using the town as their training base.
Brian Cray, 73, of Stewart Road, Southend, said: “The fact we have had Team GB divers training in Southend has brought the Olympics closer to everyone, I think.
“I know the whole team will do us proud.”
David Taylor, general manager for the centre off Eastern Avenue, said: “We are proud to have the GB diving team training at Southend. They are inspirational to the community, and in particular the children who swim and dive at the centre.
“We will be wishing the team good luck next week.”
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