Swimming coach dives in to get training tips

The John Charles Centre for sport has an enviable reputation for producing the bright young things in British aquatics – but usually in the sport of diving.

The City of Leeds Diving Club regularly provides a large percentage of the national squads that take on the world at Olympic Games and world championships.

Names like Jack Laugher, Rebecca Gallantree, Hannah Starling and Alicia Blagg are well known in sporting circles.

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But, through the deeds of 17-year-old Harrogate swimmer Sophie Taylor, the squad at the other end of the pool are catching up.

And head coach Richard Denigan knows that for his swimming squad to develop, there are some key lessons that they can take from their neighbours at the Middleton venue.

“I ask them about their land training programme, their power base work because that can have a knock-on affect for us,” said Denigan, himself a former national-standard swimmer and a coach of 10 years.

“It’s all power-based in diving but it’s an area we can improve on and one we’re keen to strengthen.”

Denigan has 35 age-group swimmers under his guidance at the City of Leeds club, ranging in age from 12 to 18.

The exploits of Taylor have given the whole squad a lift.

Denigan said: “Sophie’s results were fantastic. Her results will hopefully inspire our younger athletes to higher performance as well and Leeds swimming can once again become a success at senior level.

“We’ve had three swimmers in British squads this year, so we’re progressing.”