A DIVING coach with experience in training junior Scottish athletes working towards elite status has her eyes set on talent in Aberdeen to become future stars in the sport.
Judy Wardlaw has joined Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV) as the organisation’s first diving co-ordinator and coach, and will lead the team to develop youngsters in the city and shire who are showing promise in the pool.
The 28 year-old has moved north from a similar role in Edinburgh where she worked with the coach who trained Rio Olympic athlete, Grace Reid, and Commonwealth athlete, James Heatly.
The new role at ASV, which has been partly funded by sportscotland as part of a four year initiative, will see Judy focus initially on increasing participation in diving across the North-east before concentrating on growing performance levels with a view to growing the potential elite talent in the area.
There are currently ten diving coaches based at the world class Aquatics Centre at ASV in the city’s Linksfield Road, which boasts an Olympic sized 50m swimming pool and 25m diving pool with diving boards up to 10m.
Judy, who dived competitively across the UK until she was 16 years-old, will now manage and develop the skills of the coaches at ASV to ensure there is the coaching knowledge and experience in-house to support potential future Olympic athletes in the city.
She said: “I’ve been involved in talent identification programmes throughout my coaching career and we will be rolling out a similar programme here at the Aquatics Centre so we can hand select the best talent there is and help them to develop their skills to potentially make a career in the future.
“My first focus will be to get more people involved in the sport and the learn to dive programme at ASV, while developing the elite and performance side. As numbers increase in the pool, we’ll start to see the quality increase too and hopefully we will identify some future Olympic divers to represent Scotland in years to come.”
Chief executive of Aberdeen Sports Village, Duncan Sinclair, said: “This is a new role for Aberdeen Sports Village and Judy’s appointment will be a superb addition to our team. Focussing on our local diving talent is something we identified as a key initiative for the future and this gives us an excellent platform to offer real opportunities for our athletes.
“We have world-class facilities at the Aquatics Centre and Judy is a superb addition to our excellent team which allows us to offer amazing development opportunities for those who excel in diving.
“As we grow more talent here we will be able to attract bigger sporting events to the city, such as the 2020 European Junior Diving Championships and the British Junior Elite Diving Championships.”
Aberdeen Sports Village host a junior Learn to Dive programme and an adult Learn to Dive programme to encourage people of all ages to try diving and develop their skills and currently has 117 divers.
The diving club is by invitation-only for diving talent identified for potential progression in the sport and there are currently 23 divers competing at various local and national competitions.
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