Friday, April 29, 2022

Superb start to action on SNAGS Day One

Aberdeen Aquatics Centre was buzzing from first dive to last as the Scottish National Age Group Diving Championships returned for the first time since 2019.

135 divers from 5 teams are taking part in the event, which runs until Sunday. City of Bradford Esprit, City of Leeds Diving Club and Darlington ASC have made the journey up north to compete alongside home club Aberdeen Diving Club and fellow Scottish club Edinburgh.

Athletes from across the two Scottish clubs had a strong start to competition, winning a number of titles over the course of Friday.

Edinburgh’s Shane McConnell had an impressive performance in the 3m Springboard – with a sizeable victory in the Boys Age Group A of 327.20, ahead of teammate Logan Soutar who clinched a score of 278.30. Aidan Manville and Sam Pearson of Bradford Esprit rounded off the competition in third and fourth respectively.

Speaking of his performance, Shane said:

“That was really, really good. I’ve never done that well in a competition before. That was a PB so I was definitely diving well today.

“I’ve been working hard pretty much everything day with Edinburgh Diving Club, all the work behind the scenes that people don’t see and I’ve been really working on my diving.

“It felt good to have a lead at the end but throughout the competition it was fairly close between myself and Logan but at the end I managed to pull away.”

His final dive, a Back 2 ½ Somersaults with Tuck, ensured that Shane was able to confirm the victory. It was a dive he was especially proud of:

“It wasn’t my best dive of the competition, but it was really important dive since it was a higher tariff so I was very happy with how I did in that one – as it helped me take the victory

“It feels so good to be back in competitions, I missed it so much over lockdown, I’m also glad I wasn’t as I grew quite a lot over lockdown and diving whilst growing is very difficult!

“I made a lot of improvements when I got back due to the time off and staying fit whilst away from the pool, so it’s been all uphill since I got back.”

Shane also added another title later in the day, alongside friend and rival Logan Soutar in the Age Group 3m Synchro. The pair scored 209.97, ahead of fellow Edinburgh Pair Oksana Yevets and Freya Smith (185.35) and Aberdeen's Amelia Leslie and Anna Duthie (181.11).

The winning pair said of their victory: "It was absolutely brilliant to win as a pair, coming up here. It's always great fun and to win with your teammate is fantastic."

Freya Smith also had individual success on the opening day, with a terrific performance in the 1m Age Group B Springboard. Her score of 247.35, was higher than the Age Group A final – an impressive feat for the 2008, born athlete.

Freya put her emotions simply: “I feel really good!”

“I’m really proud and I’m just so happy with how that went – my diving was really good. I was really happy with my Back 1 ½ Somersaults, when I learnt it, I really struggled with it but I’m so chuffed with how that went.

Competing concurrently alongside older athletes, Freya has learned from the experience.

“It really pushes me on. It makes me feel like I’ve got a lot a lot more to give and the potential to improve even more. It shows me what I need to work on, what I can be doing better, and what dives I need to be putting more attention on.

“I’m really looking forward to the rest of the meet – in particular my 3m as I’ve been working on a lot of hard dives, so, I’m really excited for that. I love competitions so it’s amazing to be here.”

Aberdeen took a clean sweep of medals in consecutive afternoon events in Novice Girls 3m Springboard and Boys Age Group C Platform, as they flexed their home venue muscles.

Aberdeen’s Platform boys victor was Ben Morrice (192.90 points), finishing just ahead of Semyon Bykov in second (177.80) and Zain Sellar in third, in a highly competitive event.

The locals also took victory in the 1m Novice Mixed Synchro, claiming the win by the tightest of margins over Scottish rivals Edinburgh. Mia Pritchard and Scott Riddoch (Aberdeen) scored 142.89, whilst Layla Duke and Rosie Mantle (Edinburgh) recorded a 142.35.

That victory left the fight for the Thistle Trophy fairly evenly matched as Day One ended. The trophy is calculated based on results in the Novice Age Group.

Aberdeen, who are looking to win the title for the first-time trail Edinburgh by five points, with the home team on 47, and Edinburgh on 52. Leeds come just behind in third on 40 points.

At the end of Day 1 Diving Chair Rob Heatly was delighted to see the buzz of SNAGS back in the North-East.

He said: “This is the first major diving competition held in Aberdeen for two years and it’s great to be back in Aberdeen Sports Village.

“We are delighted that we have been able to create the opportunity for the youngsters to get back into competition. It’s clear that the divers are enjoying themselves.

“I want to give my thanks to everyone involved with the organisation of the event, particularly the volunteers from Aberdeen Diving Club, the staff at the venue, and meet director Judy Wardlaw who has done a power of work.

“It’s good to be back!”


All results from the Scottish National Age Group Open Diving Championships & Thistle Trophy Competition can be found HERE

The event is running at the Aberdeen Aquatics Centre from 29 April – 1 May 2022