Langley divers take the plunge

Francois Barnard has plunged head, and sometimes feet, first into his new sport.

For FVDC members such as Barnard and 13-year-old Jessie Nowatny – who, on the one metre board, placed 15th in her age division at the junior development national championships held in Montreal in July – gymnastics proved to be a perfect platform for diving.

Both are former gymnasts, and the sports mirror each other in some ways.

A major difference is, the landing pad is chlorinated water instead of a soft mat.

“I had to go from gymnastics to diving, and diving attracted me in that it was a close skill set [to] gymnastics, and it looked very nice to watch,” Barnard said.

So far, this new endeavor has gone “very well,” he added: “I’ve improved a lot. I’m already diving five days a week. Every day, the little things, the basics, you just improve on them.”

Barnard hopes to one day compete in a high-level competition.

As for Nowatny, once she left gymnastics, she followed a friend into diving.

“I thought I’d try it,” Nowatny said.

Nowatny is aiming at making another national appearance and this time, finishing in the top 12 in her age division. But before then, Nowatny realizes that she has work to do.

“I have a couple of dives that I need to get before my first competitions that I need for nationals,” she said.

Helen Lingham is the president of the Fraser Valley squad, which includes head coach Kostya Karibyan and assistant coaches Kelly Dee, Kailee Lingham, and Luke Penner.

Lingham’s 17-year-old daughter Kailee competed four times at nationals, finishing fourth in 2010 and placing in the top 12 on both boards in 2011 and 2012. She is now diving at a more recreational level as well as coaching with the club.

“It’s an individual sport, so they are part of a team but they can progress at their own level,” Helen Lingham said. “So they can see their own progression; they can see how much better they do.”

In the formative stages, the emphasis isn’t so much on hard competition, but more on development.

“Sometimes divers… they just want to dive one day a week and have it as one of their extra sports, and that’s perfectly fine,” Lingham said.

“Other divers will slowly pick up more days until they are diving five days a week.”

Diving off a platform five metres above the water takes a modicum of fearlessness mixed in with a healthy dose of self-assurance.

But being “coach-able” is the real key to being a good diver, Lingham said.

“If you’re not coach-able, then you’re going to let your fears stop you, and if you’re coach-able you’re going to listen to the coach and go anyway,” Lingham said. “You’re never going to be fearless, we wouldn’t really want them to be.”

The sport is growing, thanks in large part to the exposure it received from the 2010 London Olympics.

“That was a huge boost for the diving clubs,” Lingham said. “Our club doubled at that stage and we’ve never looked back.”

With a little more than 60 divers, the FVDC is one of the largest clubs in the Lower Mainland, according to Lingham.

This Saturday, the FVDC is hosting its annual Candy Cane Invitational meet at Walnut Grove Pool. The competition will attract approximately 120 divers, including 55 members from the host club. Also competing are divers from Kamloops, iDive from Vancouver, White Rock, and the North Shore Dolphins.

Open to the public, the meet runs from early morning to about 6 p.m.

Lingham said Saturday’s meet will draw divers ranging in age from U9 – which includes divers anywhere from five- to- nine years of age – to 17-year-old competitors.

Each dive, the divers will be judged on their takeoff, their form, and the line of their entry into the water.

For the most part, the meet will feature tier two divers, who fit into the intermediate category.

However, Nowatny, who only took up diving about a year-and-a-half ago, is set to compete this weekend.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Stars offer four tickets to tonight’s Langley concert to $500 donors

From country music celebrities to NHL alumni, many famous faces hit the links at Redwoods today.

Langley animals feeling effects of smoky skies

Animal shelters are trying to keep their critters healthy through the smoggy days.

Medevac called to South Surrey business

‘Serious workplace incident’ reported to WorkSafeBC

Langley City in need of some Terry Fox Run helpers

People can help out on run day or be involved in preparations before then.

VIDEO: Mustang Roundup in Langley attracts car lovers from all over

A car show dedicated entirely to one model of Ford drew admirers and collectors to George Preston Recreation Centre.

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Date rapist left victims with ‘long-lasting, emotional scars,’ judge says

Klifford Kenyon of Abbotsford sentenced to additional two years in prison

Fire in barn that housed therapy horses has been confirmed an arson

Abbotsford Police Department is now investigating and seeks witnesses

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Most Read