Harrogate District Diving Club played key role in Olympic diving ace Jack Laugher's success
Olympic diving star Jack Laugher says he wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything in the sport if it wasn’t for Harrogate District Diving Club.
The 26-year-old Team GB athlete followed up his gold and silver medals at Rio 2016 with a bronze in the 3m springboard at this summer’s Tokyo Games.
And the former Ripon Grammar School pupil doesn’t believe any of those achievements would have been possible without the coaching and guidance he received from the club during his formative years.
“I would not be here if it wasn’t for Harrogate District Diving Club,” Laugher told the Harrogate Advertiser.
“They were fantastic to me, absolutely brilliant. It’s a small venue, but it’s a grass-roots venue that has helped people coming through. Myself and Oliver Dingley both started in Harrogate and we both made it to the Olympic Games.
“It is so important to have centres like that around the country in all sports for people to have to use as a pathway to the elite level, but also to just be able to use to participate in some sort of sport
“The club means everything to me, I wouldn’t be where I am now without it.”
Harrogate District Diving Club was formed independently in 1999 and is run by Harrogate Borough Council.
In addition to helping nurture Laugher and Dingley – who was raised in the town but competes for Ireland –it also played a part in the development of three elite-level coaches, all of whom were involved in this year’s Olympics.
Damian Ball, who formed Harrogate District Diving Club as an independent entity in 1999, spent 12 years at the Hydro as a full-time coach, mentoring both Laugher and Dingley.
He is currently National Diving Coach for Swim Ireland, while ex-Harrogate coaches Ady Hinchcliffe and Andy Banks both worked for Team Australia out in Tokyo.