Coaches, parents, divers and friends of Albatross came together on Saturday night to celebrate our achievements during 2017. It was a Western themed evening complete with bucking bronco, the obligatory check shirts, some stetsons and cowboy boots!
Awards cover all attributes we look for in our divers such as: excellence in competition; dedication to training; team support and bravery when learning new skills. There are also awards recognising the contributions of our committee members and coaches.
Emma West , in her role as chair person opened the awards with a summary of our club achievements. 2017 was a hugely successful year for the club with high rates of participation and medals at all levels of competition . This is what Albatross Diving Club is about: enabling as many children as possible to get involved in the sport of diving and be the best that they can be! We celebrate all success whether it is achieving a personal best at our local club event or winning National titles. Malcolm Green, our lead coach, reminded us that 2017 was particularly special in so far as Albatross divers won gold in all five National events: National Junior Elites; National Age Groups; National Skills and National Talent Games.
Malcolm also went on to outline the great opportunities facing the club in 2018. Yes, Central Pool, our “home” for 40 years, has finally closed. However we have a brand new training facility at The Abbey School, Reading and are also excited by our new dry-land area at Rivermead Leisure Centre with two dry-boards, trampolines and a super-sized air-track! These are all things the club has wanted for a very long time. Now they are here and being used to benefit all our divers.
The evening is a celebration of all our achievements: winners of specific awards, which were kindly presented by Albatross founder and club president, Anne Green Jessel, are listed here:
MOST IMPROVED BOY ON LEARN TO DIVE PROGRAMME – Xander Bradbury
The LTD coaching team spoke of Xander’s excellent attitude to training; he listens and is able to make changes. Xander has recently been selected to join the Albatross Right Track Squad.
MOST IMPROVED GIRL ON LEARN TO DIVE PROGRAMME – Lydia Palmer-Rios
Lydia was unable to join us for the awards evening. She was commended by the LTD team for her neatness in diving, attitude and progress. Lydia has also been selected for the Right Track Squad
BEST GIRL NEWCOMER – Elisabeth Cullen
Elisabeth joined Albatross from Amersham DC in April 2017 and, since then has worked extremely hard to build her competitive list. Elisabeth achieved significant improvements in her personal bests throughout the 2017 competition season and is looking forward to National Age Groups 2018.
Commendation was given to Harry Healey for his performance at National Skills where he placed 4th in boys C and was the highest scoring Albatross diver from groups D & C. However, the award for 2017 went to Alfie Cook for attitude and achievements in training culminating in his gold medal performance in group B+ at the National Skills finals 2017.
SUPPORTIVE DIVER AWARD – James West
This award is given to a diver the coaching team feels displays a supportive attitude during training. James is well known for always being on-hand to give invaluable help and advice to coaches and divers on their competition lists. James is the walking FINA Tarif table!
SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN ADVANCED DIVING – Quinn Shaw
Quinn was recognised by the coaching team for his significant improvement and ongoing competition success during the 2017 season. Quinn was a medalist at National Age Groups and went on to take the Intermediate Boys National title at The English Schools National Diving championships which was held at the Olympic Pool, Stratford.
TEAM SPIRIT AWARD – Milly Orgill
Milly attended her first National Age Group finals in 2017 and was recognised for her consistent support for all her teammates throughout the long three day competition.
Ten year old Daisy is always ready for the next diving challenge. Whatever skill her coach asks her to do – however scary – Daisy will always try and give 100%. This is a key skill we look for in a diver.
YOUTH COACH DEVELOPMENT AWARD – Edward Beal
Edward, alongside Charlotte West, are two young divers who were recently awarded their level one assistant coaching awards. Both are committed to coaching their own groups of young aspiring divers on the learn to dive program.
Edward was commended by the coaching team for his dedication, quiet professionalism and willingness to help out with all aspects of the dive programme. These are attributes rarely seen in someone of such a young age.
MARY KINGHORN AWARD FOR COACHING – Nicki Allsop
The Mary Kinghorn coach award is voted for by all squad divers and awarded to the coach they feel has helped and supported them with their diving.
The award is given annually but the coach receiving it in one year cannot receive it in the next. The 2016 winner was Malcolm Green.
THE KEITH MEEK TROPHY – Bernie Bicknell
Bernie was recognised by members of the committee as the “unsung hero” of the club for his tireless work in support of his divers and club members
OTHER NOMINEES for this award included:
Sheila Kirrane & Bernie Bicknell recognising their contribution to the club over many years in various active roles and their representation of family values; something at the very heart of Albatross.
Emma West for her work in ensuring quality ongoing training opportunities after Central Pool Closure and her work in pursuing funding applications/development opportunities within the club.
Donna Heath – for work in pursuing and securing valuable grant applications and raising the social media profile of the club
Nicki Allsop for work to update the web site to become the modern streamlined window to the club we see online
Brian & Marnie Shaw for work to coordinate our annual Swimmark submission and Marnie, specifically, for her work to qualify as a National diving judge
Chris Barker Shield – Lauren Saunders
The 2017 award went to Lauren Saunders primarily due to her outstanding achievement of winning Talent Games. Talent Games is a National event created by British Diving to assess the talent pool of young divers (9-11 yrs) within England. To do well is extremely hard; to win is exceptional. Lauren won gold through her ability to understand that it is the fine details that matter. She worked extremely hard to make all changes asked and it was this, combined with her raw talent, that saw Lauren place first in dry land skills, dry-board and on 1m in the pool. Her combined results won her the National title and a place on the British Diving Zone Camp for 2018/19.
Commendation was also given to James West. James always works extremely hard in training and has won a string of well-deserved medals throughout the 2017 season. An exceptional achievement was winning gold on 1m at British Diving National Junior Elites. James is the first Albatross Diver in the history of the club to win an individual gold medal at this level of competition. The achievement is outstanding and testimony to James’ talent, dedication and the work of his coach Malcolm Green.
The Presidents Cup is awarded by the coaching team to a diver (or divers!) in recognition of overall excellence and achievement. It recognises the diver who the coaching team feel has shown the best all round dedication and attitude towards their diving during that season.
Charlotte and Finlay fulfil this criteria perfectly. Both have shown an excellent attitude and dedication to their dive training. This has resulted in a succession of PBs, medals and podium successes across a range of competitions.
The highlight of 2017 was National Age Groups where both secured National titles. Charlotte won gold on 1m and silvers for 3m and platform. Finlay won gold on 1m, a silver on 3m and a further gold, diving with team mate Oly Breach, in the synchronised event.
Both divers went on to secure National Junior Elite qualification when diving away in Rome. Both divers are attending Junior Elites in April this year!