Olympic diver makes splash on College visit

GREAT EXPERIENCE Olympic silver-medallist Peter Waterfield visited St Johns College to offer his advice to students

GREAT EXPERIENCE Olympic silver-medallist Peter Waterfield visited St Johns College to offer his advice to students

Will Purkiss was outstanding for the Dreadnoughts. Picture: Neil Marshall (170305-10)

Purkiss in fine form for Dreadnoughts

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Students from St John’s College have spent time testing their physical ability under the watchful eye of British Olympic diver Peter Waterfield.

The activities, which took place last month, were organised as part of Sky Sports ‘Living For Sport’ project.

Hosted at the College’s playing fields in Farlington, and including a variety of skills sessions, the project’s task was for members of the College’s Athlete Development Group to coach Junior School pupils.

In groups of eight, pupils in Year 5 and 6 worked their way around the circuit taking part in various activities that tested the children’s skill, agility, communication, speed and teamwork.

Students in Year 10 and 11, who excel in their chosen sport, were tasked in mentoring and guiding the pupils through their challenge – encouraging them and advising them along the way.

Joe Thompson, aged 15, was in charge of one of the stations.

He said, ‘It was quite difficult as I was running the activity on my own.

‘I found it harder than I thought to explain to the younger children – but they understood well.’

While activities were in full swing, Waterfield arrived on the scene.

The 2004 Olympic silver and Commonwealth gold medallist spent time meeting with each group and getting to know the older mentors, who he later spoke with about the programme’s ‘Six Keys to Success’.

Students were shown Waterfield’s medals and had the opportunity to ask about his award-winning dives.

A Year 5 pupil asked which medal Waterfield was most proud of, to which he replied: ‘The Olympic medal as the Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world.’

While talking about the ‘Living For Sport’ initiative, he said: ‘This is a sport-based intervention programme where experienced sportsmen and women can pass on their knowledge and promote the skills young people need to become an athlete, preparing them for a future in sport.

‘The Six Keys to Success are transferable and allow older students, through various coaching sessions, to pass on their skills to the younger less-confident students.’

Waterfield spent day one of the programme at the College overseeing the older students and will return for a second visit this month.

Year 10 student Lauren Dellar, aged 15, is currently the South Coast Ladies Rowing Champion, and took part in the event.

She said: ‘It was great to have an Olympic mentor share his experiences and skills with us and an excellent way to motivate us as a group.’

Fellow Year 10 student Yasmin Cupples added: ‘It was a great experience.

‘We, as students, are usually the ones being told what to do but the tables have been turned and now we are taking responsibility to guide others.’

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